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oundationsof England 

^m i 









(B.C. 55-A.D. 1154) 


Sir JAMES H. RAMSAY of Bamff, Bart., M.A 










v. \ 

Butler & Tanner, 

The Selwood Printing Works, 

Frome, and London. 

&kC v k'VJ .. VERSION 

Ai7 -^>G^A 

To the Members of My Own Family 

Living and Departed 

Who have Assisted and Encouraged Me 

in a Lengthy Task 


THE favourable reception given by historical scholars to 
Lancaster and York encourages me to give to the 
public a further instalment of my work. Reasons to which I 
need not refer induced me to begin by publishing the last section 
of my History first. But I do not propose to go on advancing by 
backward steps, and therefore I now go straight to the period at 
which the British Islands are first brought within the light of 
external history. I am fully aware that I am now entering on a 
track that may be said to have been thoroughly explored, if not 
beaten flat, by the feet of those who have gone before me. Yet 
again it might be said what an array of problems and pitfalls does 
not the rash man face who professes to deal in the spirit of our 
age with twelve centuries of history ! I can only say that the work 
has not been undertaken to support any preconceived theories, or 
with any polemical object ; that a weary length of years has been 
devoted to it ; and that I have endeavoured to avail myself of all 
the best lights. 

Some thirty years ago the late Mr. C. H. Pearson gave to the 
world two brightly written volumes that claimed to represent the 
most advanced state of historical knowledge. But historical re- 
search has been actively at work since then ; and our knowledge 
has been proportionately extended. A fresh landmark might 
fairly now be set up. Public taste, no doubt, of late years 
has favoured short monographs — " Epochs," and " Lives," and 
''Studies" dealing with individual situations, or persons, or prob- 
lems. Such treatment of subjects, when done scientifically, and 
with proper reference to authorities, is most valuable, the best of 
all work perhaps. But for those who have to "get up," and those 
who have to assist others in " getting up," history for definite ends, 


the thread of a continuous narrative, on a uniform plan, with 
consistent views, must have its value. 

My narrative throughout is based on an independent examina- 
tion of the original authorities. For personal collaboration I fear 
that I have no one to thank. But at every step I find myself 
under the greatest obligations to the works of others. These 
obligations, I trust, will be found properly acknowledged. 

With pre-historic questions I have not presumed to meddle. 
Coming to history proper, a natural desire of late has shewn itself 
for information as to the social condition of the people at various 
stages of our history, and Histories professing to be more or less 
" social " have been published with little or nothing in the way of 
social facts to record, evidence on social questions being only 
accessible through the laborious paths of special research. But for 
the Celtic population of our Islands I may say that we have 
evidence as to social facts and life going back to very remote 
periods — periods anterior to any for which we have any records of 
current events. The stages of development in the career of the 
Family and the Tribe reflected by the testimony of the old Irish 
customs embodied in the Senchiis Mor will be found very interest- 
ing. If the actual process of early feudalization does not reveal 
itself, distinct steps in the process may be noted clearly. For the 
sketch of Celtic mythology, and the few facts anterior to the 
Roman occupation, I must confess myself indebted to the works of 
Sir John Evans and Mr. John Rhys. Of the period of the Roman 
occupation I have endeavoured to give a more connected account 
than has yet been put together. Hiiber and Mommsen have con- 
tributed much of the materials. Personal acquaintance with the 
localities has assisted me in tracking out the course of Agricola's 
campaigns in modern Scotland. I hope and believe that my 
localization of the Battle of the Mons Groupius will be generally 
accepted. The site gives life to the narrative of Tacitus. For the 
dim period between the end of the Roman occupation and the 
traditional beginning of the Anglo-Saxon settlements only a little 
Church history can be offered ; but still deathless interest attaches 
to the names of Ninian and Patrick. For the earlier Anglo-Saxon 
period, fixing of dates and sites is the most that can be done ; but 


the vivid insight of the late Mr. J. R. Green has enabled us to 
bring out salient features, and to track the workings of underlying 
causes. The course of Anglo-Saxon legislation I have treated 
historically, and in connexion with the social surroundings of the 
times. To all facts bearing on the condition of the agricultural 
population of England down to the time of the Norman Conquest 
I have given special attention. For the Anglo-Saxon constitution, 
both earlier and later, and in endless other ways, I have to 
acknowledge my obligations to our 'great historic scholar, Bishop 
Stubbs. In fixing sites the Medieval Military Architecture of 
Mr. G. T. Clark has been of great service to me. To battles and 
military operations I continue to give special attention. I feel 
confident that I have discovered the long-lost site of "Brunnan- 
burh." I may point out that an American investigator, without 
fixing the exact spot, pronounces in favour of the same locality 
(C. T. WyckofT, Feudal Relations of England and Scotland, p. 14, 
Chicago, 1897). I venture to invite attention to my accounts of 
the battles of Maldon, Ashington-Canewdon, and especially of 
Senlac. For the later Anglo-Saxon period and the reigns of the 
two Williams, it is unnecessary to say that the patient industry and 
wide reading of Mr. E. A. Freeman have placed all available 
materials at the disposition of students. A review of the facts is 
as much as is open to any one coming after him. The reigns of 
Henry I. and Stephen give greater scope. For the latter period 
the Geoffrey de Mandeville of Mr. J. Horace Round has enabled 
me to supply a fairly intelligible account. I must also gratefully 
acknowledge the light that his other writings have thrown on a 
variety of difficult questions connected with the Norman Conquest. 

Bamff, 1898. J. H. RAMSAY. 



The British Islands — Earliest notices 


His visit to Britain 

Trade with Marseilles ; Alba (Albion) and feme (Ireland) 
Posidonius ; The Cornish Tin ; Export to Gaul 

Timaeus ; Parched Corn 

Ethnology ; Celtic Immigrations 
Gael, " Picts," and Britons .... 
Ethnic Relations ; The name " Pict " ; Albanach 
Evidence of Language, Pengual, Penfahel^ Ceneil 

British Civilization 

Dwelling-houses ; Tattooing ; Polyandry 
Evidence of Irish and Welsh Legends 
Female Rule ; A Northern Lady . 
Old Irish Customs ..... 
Wife-capture as a form of Marriage, Origin of 
Illegitimate Children .... 
Primitive Celtic Family . . 

Standards of Value ; External Relations 

Tariffs of Fines ..... 

Feudalization ; Development of the Tribe 

Kingship ; Tanistry .... 

The King's Endowments 

Accumulation of Property 

Survivals of Primitive Theory . 

Cadets ; Re-allotments .... 

Endowments of Bards and Brehons. 

Personal Bases of Celtic Society 

No Legislation ; No Judicature 

" Fasting upon " Adversary . 

Hostages ; No Police .... 

Social Ranks ; Agricultural Tenancies 

Ownership of Land ; Cultivation in Common 


The Druids 

Co-optation ; Oral Study 

Survivals of Druidism .... 

The Brehons ; Ogham Alphabet 



3> 4 











2 3 




Religion : Gaulish Deities 

Ogmios, or Ogma . 

Maponos ; Grannos 

Belenus ; Toutates ; Camulos 

Nemetona ; The War-god Supreme 

Cernunnos ; Taranis 

Esus ; The Three Strides 

Nodens, Nuada, Nyd 

Dagodevos, Dagda; Brig 

Sanguinary Rites ; Solar Feasts 

Lustral Fires ; Lugos 

Primitive Religion ; The Mistletoe 

Coinage ; Gold ; Silver, Copper, and Iroi 

Earthworks and Monuments ; Forts 

Domestic Implements ; Weapons . 


Flint Arrow-heads ; Pottery . 
Cremation and Burial 
Exports and Imports 



58-55 Caesar in Gaul; Crossing of the Rhine 

Policy towards Britain 
55 Negotiations; Preparations for War 

Fleets ; the Army : the Crossing 

Landing at Deal 

A Storm ; Return to Gaul 
54 Fresh Preparations ; the Forces 

The Crossing ; Advance inland 

Loss of Ships on the Coast 

The Advance Resumed . 

Dispersion of the Britons ; the Thames crossed 

Submission of Trinovantes ; Storming of Verlamion 

Cassivelaunos submits 

Return to Gaul 

.d. 5 





British Kings ; Commios ; Dubnovelaunos 

Tasciovans ; Cunobelinos ; Epaticcos 

Sway of Cunobelinos 

The Romans called in 

Aulus Plautius ; Landing . 

Togodumnos and Caratocos 

London Bridge ; the Emperor Claudius 

Vespasian; the Regni 

The Iceni ..... 

Ostorius Scapula ; the Nen-Severn Line 

The Watling Street ; the Brigantes . 

The Silures ; the Ordovices 

Defeat of Caratocos .... 

















i3 8 > 139 




Claudia ; Aulus Didius .... 
Suetonius Paullinus . 


Mona (Anglesey) ; Suppression of Druidism 
Rising of the Iceni ..... 
Queen Boudicca ; March of Suetonius 
London Burnt ; Victory of Suetonius 
Petronius Turpilianus .... 
Trebellius Maximus ..... 
Vettius Bolanus ..... 
Petilius Cerealis ..... 
The Brigantes subdued; Roads to the North 


Appendix : Forts of Ostorius Scapula 


Agricola ; Administrative Reform 

Subjugation of the Brigcmtes ; Forts and Roads 

Agricola crosses the Cheviots ; Routes to the North 

East Coast Route ; West Coast Route 

Route probably taken ; Garrison of Great Britain 

Operations of the Third Summer 

A Scientific Frontier ..... 

Fife Circumnavigated ; Return to the Forth 
Campaign of a.d. 84 ; Works at Ardoch (Lindum) 
Perth ; Coupar Angus ; Delvine ; Mons Groufiius 
Dunkeld ; Delvine Battlefield .... 

Speeches; Positions of the Armies . 

The Action ....... 

Defeat of the Picts ; the Borestl attacked 
Circumnavigation of Great Britain . 


Disappearance of the 9th Legion .... 
Visit of Hadrian ....... 

His Vallum . 

The Later Wall ; Question of Authorship . 

Titus Antoninus Pius ; the Northern Vallum . 

Northern Rising ; Mutinous Troops ; Helvius Pertinax 

Clodius Albinus ; A British " Caesar " 

Division of Britain ....... 

The Stone Wall 

Septimius Severus in Britain ..... 
Expedition against the Caledonians .... 
The Route ; Ardoch ; Gray's Wells .... 
Battle Dykes ; War Dykes ; Rae Dykes ; Norman Dykes 

Rae Dykes II 

Death of Septimius ....... 

Connexion with Gaul 

Diocletian Emperor; the Saxons .... 










3 6 4 






Carausius Emperor in Britain . 
Constantius Chlorus Cassar 
Allectus Emperor in Britain 
Constantius Chlorus, Emperor of the West 
Constantine the Great proclaimed at York 
Constantine II. .... 

Constans ...... 

Magnentius, a Briton 

Administrative Changes . 

The Four Prefectures ; Position of Britain 

Civil and Military Officers 

The Garrison ..... 

Appendix A : The Southern Preetentura 
Appendix B : The Northern Preetentura 


Fresh Northern Invasions j the Scots 
Successions in the Empire .... 

Valentinian and Valens ..... 

Count Theodosius ...... 

Northern Frontier Restored .... 

Gratian Emperor in Spain, Gaul, and Britain . 
Clemens Maximus proclaimed in Britain . 
Church Questions ...... 

Fall of Clemens Maximus 

Arcadius and Honorius ..... 

Fresh Attacks on Roman Britain 

Barbaric Invasion of Gaul .... 

Ephemeral Emperors in Britain — Marcus, Gratian 

Constantine III. ; his Successes ; Gaul ; Spain . 

End of Constantine III. ; End of Roman Occupation 

The Later Government 

Oppressive Taxation ; Land 

Trade ; Labour .... 

Customs ; Market Dues ; Military Character of Roman 

Occupation .... 
Plants and Animals introduced 
The Colonas or Predial Serf 
Appendix : Chief Roman Stations still existing as Towns 


110-306 Religious Movements ; the Church in Britain 

St. Alban 

314 British Bishops 
360-430 St. Ninian ; Church at Whithern 

370-440 Pelagius 

429 St. Germanus .... 

431 Palladius 

387 ?-469 ? St. Patrick ; his Early Life . 

Captivity ; Spiritual Change ; Escape 














Missionary Purpose ; Opposition encountered . 
A Cruel Objection ; A Vision ; Ordained at last 
Mission to Ireland ...... 

Derelict Britain 

Mission of St. Germanus ; ' Hallelujah Victory ' 
The ' Groans of the Britons ' . ... 
Second Visit of Germanus .... 
Hengist and Horsa ; Permanent Settlements 


Races in Britain ; the Saxons . 
The Angles ; the Jutes . 
Settlement in Kent . 
Hengist King .... 
Saxon Landings ; Sussex ; Hampshire 


The Isle of Wight . 
Ambrosius Aurelianus ; " Arthur " 
Historic Arthurs ; Ossianic Origin of 
Cynric ..... 
Conquests in Wilts and Berks . 


Conquests North of the Thames 
And in Western Counties 
Shrewsbury Burnt . 
Ceolric ..... 
The Midlands and the North . 






JElle . . 

Mercia ; Creoda King 

East Anglia . . . . 




Middlesex ; the Heptarchy 

Pictish Kingdoms . 

Gaelic Dalriada 

St. Columba ; Strathclyde 

St. Kentigern .... 


' The Forest ' ; Kymric Confederacy 
Wales . . ' . 
West Wales .... 
Appendix : The Twelve Battles of Arthur 


The Early Teutons ; their Virtues ; and Vices 
Country Life ; State of Agriculture . 
Treatment of Women ; Marriage 
Paternal Rights ; Criminal Law j Private War 






2, 123 



• 1397 
. 140/ 




The State ; Civil Actions ; Testimony, how weighed . 


The Wer-geld; Eot ; Wite 

Social Ranks ; the Slaves 

Classes of Slaves ; Penal Slaves ; the lect . 

The Ceorl 

Landed Property ; Legal Status .... 
The " Hide" of Land ; Later Feudalization of Ceorl . 
Social Duties ; Trinoda Necessitas .... 
Entertainment ; Military Service .... 
Cultivation in Common ; the Eorl ; Boc-land . 

The Hereditary Principle 

Later Gradations; the Gesitk-cund ; the TJiegn , 


His Authority and Emoluments ; the Comitatus 
Household Retinues ...... 

Analogous Customs ; the King 

His Position and Prerogatives 

Revenues . 

No Direct Taxation ; Crown Lands ; the Township . 
The Hundred ; Periodical Assemblies ; Tithings 
Wapentakes ; Wards ...... 

Family Groups; Manorial Estates; Township Jurisdiction 

Cultivation in Common 

Jurisdiction of the Hundred 

Court of First Instance 

The County Court ; the Wite?iagamdt ; Shire-Divisions 
The Towns ; the Heathen Priesthood 

Teutonic Gods ; Woden 

Fricge ; Thunor ; Tiu; Hilta; Fred. 

Fro; Ssetere; Baldor 

Popular Beliefs ; Spirits of Evil ; Hel ; the Eddas and 


Runic Alphabet ; Money ; Weapons of War 
Appendix A : Folc-land and Boc-land 

Appendix B : The Eddas 

Appendix C : Ridings ; Wapentakes ; Hundreds 


England in Pagan Hands . 
593 ^thelbirht ; Berhta; Gregory I. 
595 St. Augustine .... 
597 Landing in Thanet . 

Establishment at Canterbury . 
6oi The Mission Reinforced; Scheme of Bishoprics 
601-603 The British Bishops ; Differences of Ritual 

604 Mellitus Bishop of London ; Justus of Rochester 

Laurentius Archbishop 

616 Laws of ^Ethelbirht 

586-613 Affairs of Northumbria 
























Victories at Davvston .... 

And Chester 

Persecution of Eadwine .... 

End of ^Fthelfrith ; Eadwine King . 

Paulinus Bishop of York .... 

Baptism of Eadwine ; York Minster . 

Felix Bishop of the East Angles 

Government of Eadwine ; Penda, King of Mercia 

Cadwallon King of Gwynedd . 

Fall of Eadwine ; Cadwallon at York 

Oswald, Son of /Ethelfrith 

Battle of " Denises Burn " (Newbiggin Park) 

Defeat of Cadwallon ; Oswald King . 

Aidan Bishop of Bernicia 

Birinus Bishop of Dorchester . 

Fall of Oswald ; Oswiu and Oswine Kings 

Penda Dominating ..... 

Oswiu sole King (see page 195) 

Fall of Penda 

Wulfhere King of Mercia 

Christianity Established throughout England 

Diuma Bishop of Lichfield ; Wilfrith. 

Journey to Rome ; Roman Easter Adopted 

See of York ; St. Chad .... 

Theodore of Tarsus ; St. Chad Translated 

Wilfrith, Bishop of York .... 

Synod of Hertford ; Division of the East Anglian See 

Irish Agency in Conversion 

Affairs of Wessex ; Cenwahl 

See of Winchester ..... 

Cenwahl ; yEthelred of Mercia . 

Earconwald Bishop of London 

Wilfrith Driven from York 

He Appeals to Rome; Returns to England and is Im 


New Sees : Worcester, Leicester, Sidnacester, Hexham 
Wilfrith in Sussex ..... 
Ecgfrith in Northumbria .... 
His Fall ; Ealdfrith King 

Wilfrith Reinstated 

See of Hereford Established 

Death of Archbishop Theodore 

The Church of England ; Fifteen Sees 

Wilfrith again in Exile ; He becomes Bishop of Leicester 

A Fresh Difficulty ; Third Journey of Wilfrith to Rome 

Reinstated at Hexham 
Ealdfrith of Northumbria .... 
Affairs of Wessex ; Ceadwalla . 
Ine King of Wessex ; Taunton Founded . 
Abdication of Ine ; Sherborne a Bishopric (a.d. 705) 







705-735 Affairs of Northumbria ; Whithern a See .... 

Bseda 205 

737-75 8 Eadberht King of Northumbria ; Conquests in the North; 

The School of York 206 

704-716 Decline of Northumbria; Affairs of Mercia ; Coenred 

King . 207 

716—757 ^Ethelbald King of Mercia 207-9 

739-755 Cuthred King of Wessex 208-9 

737 Leicester again Severed from Lichfield .... 209 
716,742 Councils of " Clovesho " — 

Appendix to Chapter XII 

Saints and Churchmen of the Seventh Century : Hild, 
Botulf, Milthryth (Mildred), Cuthberht, ^bbe, ^Ethel- 
thryth, Earconwald, Caedmon, Biscop Baducing, 
Ealdhelm, Guthlac 210-213 


757-796 Offa King of Mercia 210 

Attacks on Sussex, Kent, Wessex, Wales . . . .214 
Offa's Dyke ; Papal Mission to England ; Synods of Fin- 

chale and Chelsea ; Lichfield an Archbishopric . 215-216 
Relations with " Charlemagne," Karl the Great . . 216-217 
Execution of ^Ethelberht of East Anglia (794) . . .217 
Eadberht Praen King of Kent ; Death of Offa . . .218 
The Saxon School at Rome ; Issue of Offa . . .219 
796-822 Ceonwulf King of Mercia ...... — 

Incorporation of Kent 220 

802 Death of Beorh trie of Wessex ; Eadburh and Karl . . — 

802-839 Ecgberht King of Wessex 221 

806-808 Affairs of Northumbria ; Eardwulf, ^Elfwold, Eanred . — 

814-825 Advance of Wessex in Devon and Cornwall . . 221-2 
796-822 Affairs of Mercia; Wales Overrun; The Boy King 

Cenelm ......... 222 

822-828 Ceolwulf, King of Mercia; Beornwulf; His Defeat by 

Ecgberht, Collapse of Mercia 223 

828-830 Ecgberht Over-lord of Mercia, Northumbria, and North 

Wales; Nominal Supremacy 224 

Appendix A to Chapter XIII 
Murder of Cynewulf 225 

Appendix B to Chapter XIII 
Alcuin 225 

Appendix C to Chapter XIII 

Archbishops of Canterbury, and Kings of Wessex, Mercia, 

and Northumbria, a.d. 690 to 802 . . . 226-8 




793-832 Northern Inroads; the Wickings . . . . .229 
Routes to Britain j Norsemen and Danes . . . 230 

Settlements in Ireland 

Landings on South Coast of England . . . -231 

Defeat at Hingston Down — 

839 Death of Ecgberht ; ^Ethelwulf King of West Saxons and 

of Kent ; His Incapacity ..... 231-232 

840-851 Wicking Assaults ; Wintering in the Thames . . . 233 

851,852 An English victory ; Young Alfred at Rome . . . 234 

Papal honours conferred upon him ..... — 

855 /Ethelwulf goes to Rome; His marriage, and return to 

England ; Wessex taken from him . . . -235 
858 Death of ^Ethelwulf; His alleged grant of Tithes; theory 

as to his actual grants 236-23 

Peter's Pence; the King's Issue ..... 238 

858-860 ^Ethelbald King of Wessex 239 

860-866 ^Ethelberht King of Wessex and Kent .... — 

Sack of Winchester ........ — 

866 ^Ethelred I. King of Wessex and Kent . . . 240 

Landing in East Anglia of Healfdene . . . 240-241 

Ivar and Ubba . — 

867, 868 Subjugation of Deira and Bernicia ..... 241 
869,870 Attack on Mercia; Conquest of East Anglia; Death of 

King Eadmund the Martyr ..... 242 
871 Invasion of Wessex ; Battle of Ashdown, ^Escesdune. . 243 
871 Death of ^Ethelred I. ; Alfred the Great King of the West 

Saxons and of Kent ; Truce with the Danes . . 244 

Appendix to Chapter XIV 

Archbishops of Canterbury, and kings of Wessex, Mercia, 

and Northumbria, a.d. 802-874 .... — 


871-900 Alfred King ; His imperfect education .... 247 

His Mother Osburh ; His love of field sports . . . 248 

8 7 2-87 5 Break up of Mercia by the Danes ; the " Five Burghs " . 249 
The West and North overrun; extinction of Northern 

civilization . 250 

842 Kenneth Mac Alpine King of Picts and Scots ... — 
Affairs of Strathclyde, Lothian, and Galloway . . .251 
876-878 The Danes again in Wessex; landing at Wareham ; occu- 
pation of Exeter and Chippenham ; ^Elfred driven 

into hiding ........ 252 

Alfred gaining ground : Victory at Heddington . -253 

878,879 Wessex evacuated ; the Tide turned .... 254 

882-884 An English Fleet — 

886 Treaty of W'edmore ; London rebuilt .... 255 

Alfred the sole English King — 




Guthred Danish King of Deira ..... — 

886-892 Alfred's Labours ; Military re-organization ; Education . 256 

Scholars at Court ; Werfrith — 

Plegmund, Grimbald, John the Saxon .... — 

Asser ; The Winchester Chronicle ..... — 

Laws of Alfred — •'Vw 

Judicial Work ; Jealousy of Magnates . * . -258 

The King's Expenditure — 

Special Enactments ........ 259^^-^, 

The Army; Foreign relations 260 

892,893 Fresh inroads ; Hasten; the Danes checked . . .261 

^Elfred on the offensive ; Raids of Hasten . . . 262 

893-895 Action at Buttington ; Chester re-occupied; Hasten up 

the Lea 263 

895, 896 Hasten driven from Essex; English losses; Alfred builds 

ships 264 

896-900 A Pacification ; Death of ^Elfred ; His Will . . . 265 

Prisons and Sheriffs first mentioned ..... 266v^^ 

The King's Issue — 

Appendix A to Chapter XV 

A Wicking Ship 266 

Appendix B to Chapter XV 

Date of Alfred's Death — 


900 Eadweard I. 'The Elder,' King of the Anglo-Saxons, i.e. of 
Mercia and Wessex; Christianity reviving in the 

North 268 

905 Renewed War with Danes ...... 269 

906 Treaty of " Yttingaforda " ; Christianity recognised . . — 

907 Chester re-fortified . . 270 

911 Battle of Wodnesfield — 

912 Death of ^Ethelred, Ealdorman of Mercia ... — 
Sub-division of Mercia 270 

913 ^Ethelflaed, ' Lady of the Mercians/ Her Mound Forts . 271 

914 War again — 

914, 915 ^Ethelflped building Forts at Tamworth, Stafford, Warwick; 

Fresh Danish landing . . . . . .272 

Their defeat and expulsion . . . . . 273 

917 West Saxon progress in Essex — 

918 Fresh Danish losses; Derby recovered; Submission of 

Cambridge 274 

919 Death of ^Ethelflsed ; Mercia incorporated with Wessex . 275 
921 Alleged homages of Northern Princes at Bake well; Scot- 
land — 

Strathclyde; Reingwald King of York . . . .276 
Question of Scottish Homage ; Eadweard's Dominion ; 

924 His Death 277 




Eadweard's Ecclesiastical Policy 

His legislation 

His Issue .... 


. 2 7 8 









^Ethelstan, His early life; His accession opposed; His 

rivals disposed of . . . . . .281 

Hallowed as King of Mercia ...... — 

Progress of Wessex . . . . . . . .282 

Homages to ^Ethelstan at Dacre ..... — 

Howel Dha, Constantine, and Eogan .... — 

^Ethelstan Lord Paramount of Great Britain . . . 283 
Affairs of Northumbria ....... 284 

^Ethelstan invades Scotland — 

Northern Coalition ; Battle of " Brunnanburh," i.e. Bourne 

in Lincolnshire ...... 285-7 

Defeat of the Allies ; Results of the Battle 

Death of ^Ethelstan ; Welsh tribute 287 

An English Bishop for Cornwall . . . . .288 
Conspiracy of the ^Etheling Eadwine 
Foreign relations of ^Ethelstan .... 

Allan of Brittany ; Herlouin of Ponthieu ; Church Founda 
tions, Chertsey Abbey, St. John of Beverley . 2 
Legislation of ^Ethelstan ; Sanctuary 
Responsibility of Lords .... 
Peace Gilds ; Pursuit of Thieves 
Division of Goods ; Self Help . 

The Sheriff; The Ordeal, by Iron ; by Water ; Currency 
Charitable Bequests ....... 



940 Eadmund I. King ; Revolt of Danes 
A Pacification .... 

941 Northern Affairs 

945 Strathclyde ravaged . 

946 Death of Eadmund ; His legislation 
His Issue .... 
Eadred King .... 
Homage of all England and Wales 

949 Struggle with Northumbria ; Olaf Cuaran again 

950 His expulsion ; Eric son of Harold Blaatand 
952 His Death ....... 

Ealdormanries of the Period .... 
Ecclesiastical Affairs ..... 

955 Death of Eadred 

St. Dunstan ; His birth and parentage ; Education 
monastic vows ...... 

Has enemies at Court ; appointed Abbot of Glastonbury ; 
Trains monks 


2 95 








Connexion with Abbey of Fleury 304 

Character of Dunstan ; His Somnambulism ... — 

Visions ; Presages 305 

His accomplishments ; Painting, Music, Metal Work . 306 

Eadwig King of Wessex and Mercia .... 307 

Feminine intrigues ; Coronation Banquet .... 308 

Dunstan outlawed ........ — 

957 Revolt of Mercia and Northumbria 309 

Eadgar King North of the Thames — 

Dunstan recalled and appointed Bishop of Worcester . — 

959 Death of Eadwig 310 

Appendix to Chapter XVIII 
Archbishop Odo and ^Elfgifu — 


959 Eadgar King of Wessex as well as of Mercia and North- 
umbria ; elected but not crowned ; Wessex at its 

Zenith 311 

Ministry of Dunstan ; Dunstan Archbishop . . .312 

961 Oswald Bishop of Worcester . . . . . .313 

963 ^Ethelwold Bishop of Winchester ..... 314 

Monastic Revival ; Celibacy of Clergy .... — 

Married Canons ; work of Oswald ; His Theological Col- 
lege ; Founds Ramsey Abbey 315 

Refounds Winchcomb ; Action of ^Ethelwold ; His drastic 

measures . . . . . . . . .316 

Ely and Peterborough refounded — 

962 Plague and Fire in London 317 

966 Westmoreland harried ....... — 

965 North Wales overrun . . . . . . .318 

973 Eadgar crowned at last ....... — 

The Coronation Service ...... 319-320 

Homages of Celtic Princes at Chester .... 320 

975 Death of Eadgar; Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex 

reduced to substantial unity 321 

Mercian Shires mapped out ; Possible cession of Lothian 

to Scotland .... .... 322 

Royal Navy ; Legislation ; Ordinance of the Hundred ; 

Borh 323-324 

Dealings in Cattle ; Currency ; Weights and Measures ; 

Church Dues ........ 325 

Tithes; Canons of Dunstan ; Monastic Foundations . 32 
The King's Issue 327 

Appendix A to Chapter XIX 
Celibacy of the Clergy . . . . . . .328 

Appendix B to Chapter XIX 
Date and Origin of our Coronation Service ... — 



975 Eadweard II. 'The Martyr'; opposition to his rule . . 329 
Social cleavage ; Regulars and Seculars .... — 
yElfthryth ; The Bishops ; Final Election . . . 330 
Ecclesiastical Troubles ; the Northumbrian Earldom . — 

976 Synods of Amesbury and Calne . . . . . 331 
978 Death of Eadweard, assassinated — 

^Ethelred II. 'TheUnredy'; His election and Coronation 332 

980 Fresh Era of Danish Invasions ...... 333 

933-982 State of Scandinavia; Harold Harfager; Gorm ; Harold 

Blaatand ; Swein Tiugeskregg ..... 334 

983 Attack on South Wales -335 

985 Child MMnc of Mercia outlawed — 

986 Apparently re-instated . 336 

984 St. yElfheah (St. Elphege II.) Bishop of Winchester . . — 
986 Rochester besieged by the King ..... — 
988 Death of Dunstan ; His justice and integrity . . . 337 

^Ethelgar Archbishop ....... — 

Renewed Invasions . ....... 338 

991 East Anglia attacked ; Battle of Maldon ; First Payment 

of Danegeld . . . . . . . . 339 

992 ? Fresh hordes ; Another Treaty ; More Danegeld . . — 

Probable date of Lake Settlements ..... 340 

Fleet collected ; Desertion and Death of Child ^lfric . — 

Death of Archbishop Oswald 341 

994 Landing of Olaf and Swein ; Formidable League ; London 

saved — 

Danegeld ; Olaf is baptized and leaves England . . 343 

995 Establishment of St. Cuthberht at Durham ... — 
The First Cathedral; ^Elfric Archbishop of Canterbury . 344 

Appendix to Chapter XXI 

./Elfric Gra7nmaticus Abbot, First of Cerne, and afterwards 

of Ensham 345 


997 Danes at Southampton; Futile Councils 

998 Feeble Action ; The Fyrd 

England's Weakness ; The causes of it ; no personal liberty 349 
Slaves and Slavery 350 

1000 Invasion of Cumbria 351 

1001 The Danes again ........ — 

English Defeats . . . . . . . -352 

1002 A Pacification and a Murder; a Royal Bride, Emma of 

Normandy . . . . . . . — 

Consequences of the Marriage; Massacre of the Danes; 

St. Bryce's Day ...... 353~4 

1003 Penalty of Crime ; Swein again ; Exeter sacked . . 354 
A Timid Ealdorman ; Old Sarum captured . . . 355 







Norwich burnt, also Thetford .... 

High-Reeve Ulfcytel 

Famine ; y^Elfeah Archbishop of Canterbury 
Court Cabals; Ealdorman ^Elfhelm put to death 
Wulfric Spot ; Eadric Streona .... 
A Scottish Inroad ; Durham rescued 

The Danes at Sandwich 

Danish Raid through Hants, Berks, and Wilts . 
Pious Legislation ; Assessments for ships and men 
A Fleet at last ; Outlawry of Wulfnoth 
The Armament broken up .... 







1009 Danish Fleet under Thurkill at Sandwich .... 363 
Canterbury ransomed ; The Danes at Greenwich . . — 

1010 Raid to Oxford 363-4 

Defeat of the East Anglians 364 

The Home Counties overrun ; Collapse of resistance ; 

Seventeen counties devastated 365 

ion Danegeld imposed ; Canterbury sacked .... 366 

1012 Danegeld being paid ; Further demands . • . . 367 
Murder of Archbishop y'Elfheah ..... — 
Thurkill taken into English service ..... 368 

10 1 3 King Swein; Submission of Northern England . . — 
Wessex follows suit ; London holds out .... 369 
Submission of the West ; Swein declared King j Flight of 

Emma — 

1014 Flight of ^thelred 370 

Death of Swein ; Three thrones vacant . . . .371 
y^Ethelred recalled; an army raised; Cnut driven from 

England; Thurkill in service again . . . -372 

1015 One more Cabal; Assassination of Siferth and Morcar 373~4 
Confiscation ; The King and his Son . . . -374 
Return of Cnut; His free followers .... 374—5 
Submission of Wessex 375 

10 1 6 Struggle in the North — 

Raids and Counter Raids 376 

Assassination of Uhtred -377 

Death of King ^Ethelred ; His Legislation 

Frithborh . ........ 

Sanctuary 378 

Ranks of Minsters ; Ale-houses ; The Port of London ; 

Customs' Duties . . . . . . -379 

Laws of Priests ; Seculars and Regulars ; Clerical Ordeal 380 
Jurisdictions of Soc and Sac . . . . . -381 

The King's issue — 





1016 Eadmund II., Ironside j His election in London . . 382 

Counter recognition of Cnut at Southampton ... — 

Cnut besieges London ; His Canal ..... 383 

Battles of Penselwood and Sherston ..... — 

London relieved ........ 384 

Campaign in Kent; Eadric Streona joins Eadmund . . 385 
Campaign in Essex ; Battle of Ashingdon or Canewdon ; 

The English attack the Danes ; Their formation . 386 

The Battle ; The English retire ; Their losses . . . 387 

Further movements ; Eadmund in Gloucestershire . . 388 
Negociations ; Treaty of Alney j Partition of England ; 

Death of Eadmund 389 

His issue . 390 

Appendix to Chapter XXIII 
Site of the Battle of Ashingdon 








Character of Cnut; His final election in London . . 391 

Coronation ; Coronation Honours ; Political executions . 392 

End of Eadric Streona ....... — 

Godwine Earl of West Saxons ; Marriage of Cnut ; The 

Lady Emma again . . . . . . .394 

Danegeld ; The House-carles ; Grand Gemot at Oxford ; 
1 The Laws of King Eadgar ' ; Gemot at Winchester ; 

Legislation -395 

Church Dues 396 

A Royal Proclamation ; Cnut and the English . . -397 
Battle of Carham ; Defeat of the English ; Final abandon- 
ment of Lothian ....... — 

Cnut visits Denmark ....... 398 

Return to England ; ^Ethelnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury ; 

Memorial Church at " Assandun " . . . — 

Thurkill dismissed ........ 399 

Translation of St. /Elfheah ...... — 

Earl Eric banished ; The Northumbrian Feud . . . 400 

Cnut again to Denmark ; War with Sweden ... — 

Battle of the Helga ; Ulf put to death .... — 

Cnut again in England . . .... 401 

Pilgrimage to Rome ; the King's behaviour in Church ; 

Coronation of Conrad II. the Salic .... — 

Commercial Treaty with Burgundy 402 

Letter of Cnut to the English nation ; His future movements — 
The Saxon School at Rome ; Betrothal of Gunhild to 
Henry of Germany ; the Eyder Frontier ; Cnut and 

St. Olaf 403 

Cnut invades Norway ; expulsion of Olaf . . . . 404 

Cnut elected King — 




1030 Defeat of Olaf at Stiklestad ; His death .... — 

1 03 1 Cnut again in England; Invasion of Scotland ... — 
Malcolm MacKenneth does homage .... — 
Cnut over-lord of all Great Britain ..... — 
Banishment of Earl Hakon ; Siward Earl of Deira ; Leofric, 

son of Leofwine, Earl of Mercia .... 405 
1035 Death of Cnut — 


Estimate of Cnut's character ; His system of Government ; 

Scandinavia ruled by England ; English Tradition 

favourable to him ....... 406 

His Benefactions ; His relations to the clergy and the 

great landowners 407-8 

Jurisdictions of Soc and Sac ; His legislation . . . 40! 


Regalian Dues; Borh 410 

Territorial Tithings ; Wills of Chattels ; Administration of 

Intestates' effects ; Heriots . . . . .411 

The Leges Castrenses ; The Primitive Co7nitatus . .413 
A Household Court ; Numbers and Rates of pay of the 

House-carles 41 4^ 

Crews of Northern ships 415 

Personal appearance of Cnut ; His issue . . . .416 
Collateral relations 417 

Appendix to Chapter XXV 

Franchises of Sac and Soc; Technical terms used in grants W^ 

of — 


1035 Break up of Cnut's Empire; Swein, King of Norway; 

Harthacnut King of Denmark ; Question of English 

Succession; Parties in England . . . .419 

The Great Earldoms — Bernicia, Deira, Mercia, Wessex; 

Earl Godwine ; His parentage 420 

Possible candidates for the Throne ; Witenagemot at Oxford 421 
Harold and Harthacnut ; Harold King North of the 

Thames 422 

1036 Attempt of the ^Etheling Alfred, son of ^Ethelred ; He 

lands at Sandwich ; Advances towards London ; is 
arrested by Godwine ; His death . . . 423-4 

Emma banished ; Harold full King . 

1039 Weakness of his position ; Foreign relations 
1034-40 Duncan King of Scotland 

1040 Macbeth King of Scotland ; Death of Harold 
The House-carles ..... 
Harthacnut elected King of England ; He lands at Sand- 
wich ; Treatment of Harold's remains . . . 429 





Heavy Danegeld ; Godwine on his Trial .... 430 
His defence . .431 

1041 Famine ; Resistance to Danegeld ; Worcestershire ravaged 432-3 
Murder of Earl Eadulf; Si ward, Earl of all Northumbrian 

Eadward (the Confessor) brought to England . -433 

1042 Death of Harthacnut . 434 


1042 Eadward II. (the Confessor) proclaimed in London , 

1043 April 3. Coronation of Eadward . 
Question of the delay ; Swein Estrithson in England 

His probable candidature 

Foreign relations ; Character of the King 

Attack on his Mother Emma; Her Treasure seized . 

1033 Stigand Bishop of Elmham ..... 

1044 Robert of Jumieges, Bishop of London; Position of Earl 

Godwine ......... 

1044 His son Swein an Earl 

1045 His daughter Eadgyth 'Lady of the English'; Her cha 

racter ........ 

Harold Earl of East Anglia . 

Fleets called out ; Magnus of Norway .... 

1046 Godwine's Influence; Misconduct of his son Swein; He is 
outlawed ; also Osgod Clapa 

Ecclesiastical affairs ; Leofric of Exeter ; the first Chancellor 443 

1047 Stigand Bishop of Winchester ; Foreign relations . . 444 
Swein Estrithson King of Denmark ; Harold Hardrada 

King of Norway 

1048 Wicking Attack on the South Coast .... 

1049 War in Lorraine; England and Germany; Swein comes 

home 445 

A facile King ; Selfish Relatives ; Murder of Beorn . . 446 
Swein denounced 447 

1050 Pardoned and recalled 

1049 Danish landing in the Severn ..... 
Osgod Clapa again ; Ecclesiastical affairs ; Ulf, Bishop of 

Dorchester ; Papal Councils — Rheims, Mainz . . 448 

1050 Rome; Vercelli 

Transubstantiation ; Lanfranc and Berengar . . . 449 

105 1 Vacancy at Canterbury; A struggle; Robert of Jumieges 

Archbishop; The House-carles finally paid off; No 

more Danegeld 450 

Spearhafoc Bishop of London 451 


105 1 Parties in England ; the first Norman Castle . . -452 
Visit from Eustace II. Count of Boulogne . . . -453 
Affray at Dover ; Godwine ordered to ravage the town . — 


43 6 






He resists the King ; The Northern Earls support Eadvvard 

Gemot at Gloucester 
Adjournment to London ; Proceedings there 
Godvvine and his family outlawed 
The Lady Eadgyth sent to a nunnery 
Visit from Duke William of Normandy 
His birth and election ; Troubled minority 
Faithful Guardians ; the Treuga Dei 

1047 Revolt of Guy of Burgundy 
Battle of Val-es-Dunes .... 

1048 The County of Maine; War with Anjou . 
Alencon and Domfront .... 
Alencon recovered ; Domfront won ; William the chief 

power in France .... 

105 1 The visit to England .... 
Its object ; a reco?inaissance \ Probable offer of the Succes 

sion ......... 

1052 A Welsh inroad; Death of the Lady Emma; Return of 

Harold ; He ravages the South Coast 
Return of Godwine ; they join forces ; Sail up the Thames 
The Fleets in array above London Bridge 
Mediation ; Flight of the Foreigners 
Godwine and his family reinstated . 
The revulsion in English feeling considered ; its probable 

cause ...... 

Stigand installed as Archbishop of Canterbury 

1053 The Pallhtm refused ; Death of Godwine 
His Character ...... 

Character of Harold 


45 6 












1040-54 Macbeth King of Scotland ...... 470 

1054 Invasion of Scotland by Earl Siward . . . 471 

1057 Death of Macbeth ; Lulach King of Scots ... — 

1058 Death of Lulach ; Malcolm III. " Canmore " King . . 472 

1055 Death of Siward Digera ; Claimants for Bernicia and Deira 
A Family " Job " ; Tostig, brother to Harold, Earl of all 

Northumbria 473 

/Elfgar son of Leofric outlawed 473 

He revolts ; Herefordshire harried ; Defeat of Earl Ralph ; 

Sack of Hereford . . . . . . .474 

Harold to the rescue; He fortifies Hereford . . .475 

1056 ^Elfgar reinstated . . . ..... — 

War with Wales ; A Bishop in the Field . . . . 47 6 

1057 Question of the Succession; Recall of the ^Etheling Ead- 

ward ; His sudden death -477 

Conflicting views on the subject; Death of Earl Leofric of 

Mercia; His noble character 478 

Unjust legend of " Lady Godiva " ; ^Elfgar Earl of Mercia; 



Gyrth, brother to Harold, Earl of East Anglia ; Leof- 
wine Earl of Essex, Herts, and Middlesex . . 479 

^Elfgar apparently the only Earl not of the family of God- 
wine ; Harold aiming at the Crown .... 480 
1058 ./Elfgar again outlawed and again restored ... — 

Stigand and the Papacy; ^Elfwold Bishop of Sherborne 
and St. Cuthberht ; Amalgamation of Sees of Rams- 
bury and Sherborne . . . . . . .481 

Bishop Ealdred on Pilgrimage to Jerusalem . . . 482 

1060 Consecration of Harold's Foundation of the Holy Rood of 

Waltham — 

Ealdred Archbishop of York 483 

1 06 1 Ealdred goes to Rome with Earls Tostig and Gyrth . . — 
The Pallium withheld; Exemptions for St. Peter's, West- 
minster; Italian Brigands; a Scottish inroad . . 484 

1062 Papal Mission to England ; Visitation of England ; Wulfstan 

Bishop of Worcester 485 

Stigand ; Ealdred ; Wulfstan 486 

1064 War with Wales ; Invasion by sea and land . . .487 

Death of GrufTudd ap Llywelyn — 

Judicious tactics of Harold — 

Bleddyn and Rhiwallon Princes of Wales in vassalage to 

Eadward and Harold 488 

1065 Continuing hostilities with Wales ; Curtailment of Welsh 

Territory — 

Death of ^Elfgar 489 


1053 Affairs of Normandy ; Marriage of Duke William . 490-1 

Papal Objections ; Intervention of Lanfranc 
1054-5 Normandy invaded by the French .... 
Action at Mortemer ; Inroad repelled 
1055 A footing established in Maine . .... 
1058 Fresh invasion of Normandy by France and Anjou . 
Defeat of the Invaders at Varaville .... 
1060 Succession in Anjou ; Geoffrey Barbu and Fulk Rechin 

Affairs of Maine 

Old Norman claims ....... 

Over-Lordship of Anjou ; Commendation of Maine by 
Count Herbert to Duke William 

1064 Death of Herbert 

Invasion and Conquest of Maine by William . 

1064-5 Harold in Normandy ; Question as to the circumstances 
He is compelled to do homage to William, and to recog 
nize his right of succession to the English Crown 

1065 Unpopularity of Tostig in Northumbria . 
Charges of Bloodshed against him ; the people rise and 

take Morkere younger son of ^Elfgar as their Earl 

March to the South 499 

Harold attempts to mediate . .... 500 










The King stands by Tostig ; His orders ignored \ Tostig 
leaves England 

Dedication of Westminster Abbey 

Deathbed of Eadward the Confessor ; His visions 

Prophecy of the Green Tree .... 

Death of the King 

His Character and Manners ; His love of Field Sports 

Touching for the King's Evil ; His relations to the Lady 

Legislation ; so-called Leges Edwardi Con/essoris, sl Com 
pilation of the time of Henry II. 

Law of Eadward's Time to be found in Leges Willelmi 
Co7iqnestoris ; Sanctuary ; IVers, Team, Frithborh, 
Soc and Sac 

Eadward and the Church ; His benefactions 

Westminster Abbey ; Remains of Eadward's Conventual 
buildings ......... 






Social State of England in later Anglo-Saxon Times . .508 

Depressed population — 

Rectitudines Singularum Personarum . . . 509 

The Gebur ......... — 

The Cotsetla ; The Geneat . . . . . .510 

Corresponding Classes in Domesday Book . . . 5 1 1 

Their numbers 512 

Tenants-in-Chief ; Middling Gentry .... 513-14 

Burgesses ; Freeholders of the Manor .... — 

Sokemen ; The Adscripti Glebce. . . . . . 5 1 5 

Slaves; No free backbone . . . . . .516 

Apparent antiquity of the System ; Parallel case of Gaul ; 

Representative Assemblies . . . . .517 

The County Court — 

The Hundred Court 518 

Township Meetings ; later Manorial Courts . . -519 
Relations to the earlier institutions ; Courts-Leet . . — 
The Anglo-Saxon Towns ; Compositions for the fyrd . 520 

The Witenagamot ; Frithborh . . . . . .521 

The Church ; Relations to the State ; England feudalized 

as between Landlord and Tenant . . . -522 
Social barriers not impassable ; The King ; His position 

and prerogatives . . . . . . . 523 

Royal Officers 524 

The Earl ; the Sheriff 5 2 5 

Agriculture ; Commerce ....... — 

Architecture ; Forts ; Church Buildings ; Existing Remains 

of ... 5 2 7 

Domestic Architecture ; Embroidery and Metal Work . 528 
Weapons ; Currency 529 


Appendix A to Chapter XXXI 


Frithborh-, Frithgilds 530 /WA> 

Appendix B to Chapter XXXI 
The Hide 53I 


Anglo-Saxon Measures ; Imperial Measures \ Norman 

Measures 533 


Where the ipsissima verba of another are given without modification, 
double inverted commas (" ") are used. If the words are translated, 
transliterated, or in any way modified, single inverted commas (' ') are 
used ; e.g. " Candida Navis " ; " La Blanche Nef" ; < The White Ship.' 
" With all my horrible imperfections on my head ; ' ; 'with all his horrible 
imperfections on his head.' 


Stone Hatchet with wooden handle 

Ogham Alphabet . 

Celtic Swords .... 

Map of Agricola's Routes in a.d. 80 and 

Map of Agricola's Route in 84 

Plan of Battle of Mons Groupius 

Profile of the Tyne-Solway Vallum 

Profile of the Roman Wall 

Map of Route of Septimius Severus, a.d. 

Map of Roman Britain, a.d. 200 

Map of Britain circa a.d. 600 . 

Effigy of Solar Deity 

Anglo-Saxon Sword and Dagger {bill, seax 

Plan of the Bourne Earthworks 

Dunstan with his Pallium 

Scandinavian Sword 

Plan of Common Field of Burton Agnes 



Vignette to Preface 


2 5 













3 X 3 
5 2 9 


Earliest Historic Notices of the British Isles — Celtic Immigrations — Ethnology — Early 
Celtic Life and Institutions — The Primitive Family and its History — The Senchus 

THE British Islands are situated nearly in the centre of the northern 
temperate zone between the 50th and 58th parallels of north 
latitude, and their aggregate area does not quite amount to 123,000 square 
miles, an extent of territory less by one-third than that of Italy, 

T M?i!K sh ar >d not much more than half of that either of France or of 

the Spanish peninsula. Yet a rare combination of physical 
advantages have amply compensated to the inhabitants of these Islands 
the narrow bounds of the land they live in. A mild and healthy climate, 
free from extremes of heat or cold ; a soil of diversified surface and great 
general fertility; a regular and abundant rainfall, the first requisite for 
agricultural production ; an insular configuration, giving protection against 
foreign invasion ; an extensive seaboard and numerous harbours to en- 
courage commerce and naval enterprise; and, lastly, an immense wealth 
of mineral products, are among the causes that have made Britain great. 
The British Islands may be said, in the language of modern 
Notices* researcn > to have been "discovered" by Pytheas of Marseilles, 
an eminent Greek mathematician and astronomer. Pytheas 
had heard of Britain and British tin ; and he was prompted to explore 
this new world by the desire of establishing commercial rela- 
tions, along with a new trade route through Gaul, for the 
benefit of his fellow-townsmen, in opposition to the Carthaginians, who 
had the entire command of the tin drawn from the Spanish Peninsula ; 
the small tin-bearing islands off the coast of Galicia may be identified 
with the Kassiterides, — 'the tin islands from whence our tin comes,' — as 
mentioned by Herodotus more than a century before the time of Pytheas. 1 
They have sometimes, on the authority of F'estus Avienus, a writer of the 
fourth century of our era, been identified with the Scilly Islands on the 
Cornish coast. 2 But the older authorities — Posidonius (born circa 135 B.C.), 
as quoted by Strabo, Diodorus Siculus (floruit 50 B.C.), and Pliny (died 
a.d. 79) — distinctly connect the tin islands with the coast of the Iberian 
Peninsula. 3 To Festus again appears to be due the further belief that the 

1 Herodotus, Hist., III., c. 15. This writer flourished circa 450 B.C. 

2 See the extracts, Monumenta Historica Britannica, p. xix. (Petrie& Sharpe, 1848.) 

3 Id. , iii. v. viii. See also Elton, Origins of English History, 13-18. 

R. H. B 


Carthaginians worked mines in Britain ; this again must be declared un- 
founded. There is no historical evidence for the supposition, and archaeo- 
logical evidence is equally wanting. Not a coin or an article of Phoenician 
make has ever been discovered on the soil of Britain. 1 

To return to Pytheas. He lived in the time of Aristotle and Alexander 
the Great ; but his travels are not noticed by the former, and therefore are 
judged to have been published after his death, which took place in the 
year 322 b.c. Pytheas' journals are unfortunately lost ; but fossil fragments 
of them have been discovered embedded in the writings of Strabo and 
others. From these relics and other notices of Pytheas, carefully collected 
and arranged by Mr. C. Elton, we learn that he made his way 

Britain t0 Britain by sailing round the coasts of Spain and Gaul, and 
so up the Channel till he landed in "Kantion" — Kent — which 
he roughly describes as facing the mouths of the Rhine. Great Britain 
appears to have been known to him as ' Brettanic,' or ' the Brettanic 
Isle,' 2 the group being also spoken of as the " Brettanides," names more 
in accordance with Celtic spelling than the later Roman derivatives, 
'Britannus' and ' Brittanicus.' Pytheas apparently landed in the early 
summer ; he made his way up the east coast to the far north, returning 
by the same line to Kent, from whence he sailed to the mouth of the 
Garonne, proceeding from thence overland to his native city. His explora- 
tions were thus confined to our eastern coasts. He saw plenty of wheat, and 
noticed with surprise that the natives had to thrash their corn in big huts, 3 
i.e. barns, the climate not admitting of outdoor threshing as in Southern 
Europe : he also noticed a drink made of wheat and honey, the metheglin 
or mead of later ages. 

How far Pytheas contributed towards opening up intercourse between 

Britain and Marseilles does not appear. The earliest British coins that 

have come down to us are copied ultimately from the coinage 

Marseilles 11 of Greece, through types derived from Marseilles. These 

British coins are supposed to date from about 200 B.C. If so, 

a trade route through Gaul would have been established by that time. 4 

No reference to the sister island is made by Pytheas. For the first 

clear mention of its name and also for the first mention of that which 

appears to have been the oldest distinctive name of Great Britain we are 

indebted to the anonymous author of a treatise on the World, formerly 

attributed to Aristotle, but now admitted to have been written some 

seventy years later, or about 250 B.C. 'In the ocean outside the Pillars 

. of Hercules are two large islands called the Bretanics, Albion 
Albion and ° . 

ierne. and Ierne.' ° Ierne is of course Erin ; and Albion appears to 

1 J. Evans, Ancient British Coins, p. 21. J. Rhys, Celtic Britain, p. 47. (S.P.C.K., 
1882.) 2 «^ BpeTraviKifr." Elton, sup., Append. 428, 429. 

3 iv olkols fxeydXois. 4 J. Evans, Ancient British Coins, 22, 34. 

3 £fw [tGiv SttjXwv] vt\(tqi Tvyxdvovai ovcrai duo (UpeTaviKal Xeyofxevat 'AA/Sicw /cat lepvr}. 


be merely a modification of the primitive Alba, genitive Alban, 1 the 
name by which Gaelic speaking people still designate North Britain. 
Thus the name, as used by them, " is one that has retreated to a corner 
of the island, to the whole of which it once applied." ~ As for the 
name Britain, Welsh Brydain or Prydain, Mr. Rhys would trace this back 
to the Latin Britannia, and that again to Britannus and Britanni j where 
the proper native spelling would be " Britto " and " Brittones " 3 Another 
view, however, is that the Welsh Prydain is merely from Brydain used in 
conjunction with the words Y/iys y ; "Ynys y Prydani " ; 'The Isle of 
the Britons ' ; the B being modified by the preceding j. 4 

Some two centuries after the time of Pytheas Britain was visited by 
another distinguished Greek savant — the geographer Posidonius, 5 " with 

whom Cicero studied at Rhodes." His notes of travel again 

must be looked for in the pages of Diodorus Siculus, who 
wrote not many years later. It would seem that Posidonius visited the 
tin districts of Cornwall, to which he gives the name of " Belerion." He 

describes the tin as being found not on the surface or by 
Cornish Tin. wasmn g river sands, but by skilful mining in a rocky soil ; the 

ore being smelted and cast into blocks shaped like knuckle 
bones. 7 The metal for exportation was carried by land to an island off 
the coast to which he gives the name of Ictis ; he describes the island as 
being in reality such only at high tide, the channel being dry at low water 
when the tin was carried across. The foreign merchants who bought the 

metal at this primitive Staple shipped it to Gaul, and then 
to Gaul, carried it on pack horses, thirty days' journey, from the coast 

to the ' outlet of the Rhone ' {i.e., its junction with the Saone) ; 
from whence it went down the river to Marseilles. 8 

Timaeus the historian, 9 apparently quoting from the travels of Pytheas, 

speaks of an island " Mictis," on the British coast, to which seemingly tin 

Tim was brought s ^ x days' sail in canoes of wicker work covered 

with hides. " Ictis " and " Mictis " might be thought to 
suggest " Vectis," the Isle of Wight. But why should the tin be taken 
over to the Isle of Wight, where there are no harbours, instead of being 

De Mundo, A/on. Hist. Brit., p. i. Mr. Rhys again suggests that " Iverion " may have 
been the oldest name of Ireland.— Rhind Lecture, 1889-1890. The form used by St. 
Patrick in his Confessions is Hiberione or Hyberione. See the Trip. Life, vol. ii., 
passim, Professor C. Whitley Stokes. Rolls Series, No. 89. 

1 Albion would represent the Welsh pronunciation of a Gaelic Alban. Rhys, sup., 
202. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid., 204. 

4 Windisch in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopaedia. 

5 Posidonius may have been born about 135 B.C., and probably visited Britain about 
no B.C. 

6 Diodorus flor. circa 50 B.C. 

7 A huge "knuckle-bone" of tin was dredged up near Falmouth in 1823. Elton, 235. 

8 See the extracts, M. H. B., ii. 

Timoeus apparently lived B.C. 352-256. Smith, Dictionary of Biography. 


shipped direct from Southampton or Portsmouth ? It has been suggested 
that " Ictis " and " Mictis " might be identified with Thanet ; but there is 
no evidence of any great shipping intercourse in historic times between 
Thanet and the continent : the probability is that the bulk of the inter- 
course across the Channel was carried on between the places whose very 
names stamp them as having been from the beginning of time the stepping 
stones in this transit, Calais the Kyle or crossing place and Dover, 1 the 
Water, the place where men went down to their ships. Caesar's statement 
that the tin came from inland supports this view, as it merely implies that 
the tin was brought to Kent from the mining districts by land, and not by 
water. The islands of " Ictis " and " Mictis " seem to have sprung out of 
the primitive Gaelic name for the Channel, Mw'r-n-fc/it. 2 With this we 
may also connect Morim] the Roman name for the people of the Boulonnais 
and the neighbouring parts of Flanders and Armorica the later Brittany. 

Timaeus, still quoting Pytheas, as is supposed, gives a curious account 
of a mode of harvesting and dressing corn for food in Britain. ' Their 

harvest,' he says, ' consists in cutting off the ears of corn and 
Pa corn d storm g them in pits underground ; they take out each day the 

corn that has been longest stored, and dress the ears for food.' 
To understand this description one should compare it with a passage from 
Martin's ' Description of the Western Islands of Scotland,' which was 
published in 1703. "A woman," he says, "sitting down, takes a handful 
of corn, holding it by the stalks in her left hand and then sets fire to the 
ears, which are presently in a flame. She has a stick in her right hand, 
which she manages very dexterously, beating off the grains at the very 
instant when the husk is quite burnt. . . . The corn may be so 
dressed, winnowed, ground, and baked, within an hour after reaping from 
the ground." 3 

Before entering on the continuous history of Britain, which will begin 

with Caesar's invasion, it may be well to take a glance at the 

ethnology of the Island and the early condition of the in- 
habitants. That the population was mainly if not wholly of Aryan Celtic 
blood 4 seems a fact too well recognised to need proof. All our river 
names appear to belong to one or other of the Celtic tongues. That the 
Celtic immi- Celts entered Britain from Gaul may also be assumed ; and 
grations. the later immigrations appear to have resembled the Danish 
immigrations of the ninth and tenth centuries, beginning with predatory 
inroads and ending in territorial settlements. Caesar writes as if the latest 

1 Irish, dobar ; Welsh, dwfr dwr. 

2 Tribes and Customs of By Fiachrach, Irish Archseol. Society, 1844, p. 18. 

3 Elton, Origins, p. 33. In Ireland the operation was seen by Arthur Young, not a 
hundred years ago. Corn thus burnt in the ear is called Loisgrean (lusgraun). Joyce, 
Irish Names of Places, 237. 

4 For Aryan races, see J. Rhys' Celtic Britain, pp. I, 2. 


immigrations of Belgic Gauls were of recent date l and he mentions 

one Divitiacus, king of the Suessones (Soissons), as having exercised rule 

in Britain within living memory.* The memory of these colonists is 

perpetuated by the Roman name for Winchester — Ve?ita Belgaruin. 

For the ethnology of Britain at the time of the Roman conquest we are 

obliged to depend in the main on evidence drawn from later times ; but 

as we have no evidence of any extensive migrations or displacements of 

population during the Roman occupation, it does not seem too much to 

assume that, in the main, the distribution of races was the same when they 

entered the Island as when they left it. The Celtic inhabitants of Great 

Britain and Ireland therefore apparently belonged to three 
Gael, "Picts," . . . ** . J . .* . . 

and Britons, sister races, representing three successive immigrations : the 

Gael, the so-called Picts, and the Britons. 

The Gael, or as they themselves spell the name Gaidhil, formerly 
Goidel, 3 are the ancestors of the Gaelic speaking inhabitants of Ireland 
and the West Highlands of Scotland, and of the Manxmen : Pictish blood 
runs in the veins of the bulk of the population of the Northern and 
Eastern Highlands of Scotland and Fife, while some relics may be found 
in the extreme south-west of Scotland, 4 and in Cornwall; while the Britons 
are represented by the modern Welsh, or as they call themselves Brythons 
or Kymry. At the period of the Roman conquest the Gael presumably 
had Ireland all to themselves ; the Picts occupied Britain north of the 
Tweed, with some portions of the west coast of Southern Britain ; while 
the Britons would hold all the rest. But in the absence of specific 
evidence these distributions must be taken as mere rough outlines and 
subject to all reservations. The Gael would represent the earliest Celtic 
immigrants, who has been driven westwards by the Picts ; the Picts again 
having been displaced by the Britons. 

One word as to pre-Celtic inhabitants of our islands : with these history 
cannot undertake to deal ; but archaeologists seem agreed in believing in an 
earlier race of Finnish or Turanian blood. It has been often remarked 
that all writers of antiquity in describing the Celts speak of them as a fair- 
haired race. 5 Special students of the subject believe the pre-Celtic inhabi- 
tants of Britain to have been dark haired. Now the pre-Celtic people, if 
not utterly exterminated, a very unlikely circumstance, would presumably 
have been absorbed and assimilated by the earliest Celtic immigrants, 
namely the Gael ; of British races, the Gael have the largest proportion of 

1 De Bello Gallico, V. 12. 2 "Nostra memoria," B. G., II. 4. 

3 Rhys, C. £., 3. 

4 As late as the year 113S, at the Battle of the Standard, the men of Galloway are 
distinguished as Picts. See below, vol. ii., under that year. 

5 "Aurea casariis ollis," etc. Verg. s£n., VIII. 659. See the further references, 
Elton, Origins, 113. 


dark smooth hair. It is open to conjecture, therefore, that this peculiarity 
may be derived from an admixture of pre-Celtic blood. 

The ethnic relations of the Gael to the Britions are pretty well recog- 
nised. The Pictish question is an old difficulty. Some regard them as 
Gael ; others as Britons or Welshmen ; while one eminent philologer would 
exclude them together from the family of Aryan races. 1 In 
E ia£onf e * Gur v i ew tne f acts an( 3 probabilities of the case seem to tally 
best with the theory that they were a Celtic race, intermediate 
between the Gael and the Britons, and speaking an intermediate dialect. 

The history and etymology of the name " Pict " again are involved in 
doubt ; but the prevalent opinion is that the word was simply Roman. It 
" is found applied to them for the first time in a panegyric by Eumenius in 
the year a.d. 2 6q." 2 In Welsh literature the name appears as 
T -p£t a ^ e "Gwyddyl Ffichti? 'Pict Gael'; the Welsh not recognising 
them as brethren ; while the Irish equally disclaiming kinship, 
called them " Cruithnig" ; 8 a name which must have obtained some recog- 
nition among themselves as in later days we shall find them taking Cruithne 
as their Eponymus. Their own name for themselves has almost been lost, 

owing to the total want of Pictish literature, but it would seem 
' Albanach." 

that they called themselves simply " Albanach? ' 4 " Albans" or 

" Men of Alba/' as distinguished both from Gael and Britons. 5 

The differences in type between the Eastern Highlanders and the Western 

Highlanders, even at the present day, are clearly marked. On the other 

hand Tacitus, whose narrative of events in Britain is a mere outline, felt 

bound to record a difference in type between the " Caledonii," and the 

inhabitants of Southern Britain. Their stature and fair hair he thought 

pointed to a Teutonic origin. Without troubling ourselves with this 

suggestion, we may say that the " rutnlce coma " quite agree with the type 

of tall, sandy Scotchman which we specially associate with Pictish blood. 

The Western Gael is darker, and, if red haired, of a deeper red. The 

1 Rhys, C. B., 4, 56, 70, etc. 

2 Rhys, C. B. In his Rhind Lectures Mr. Rhys alters his view, contending that the 
name Pict was not, as is generally held, a loan word from the Latin, but of indigenous 

3 Rhys, 236. In old Irish writings, Pictish names are treated as foreign words, and 
indeclinable. Whitley Stokes {Academy). 

4 The name is given in the Senchus Mor, I. 71. We have also a place in London- 
derry, Lis Albanagh, the " lis" or fort of the Albans. Joyce, Irish Names of Places, I. 
272. So again at the Battle of the Standard, the war-cry of the men of Galloway is given 
in Latin as " Albani, : ' evidently " Albanach." 

5 In Anglo-Saxon the name appears as "Peohta" or " Pihta," being the correct 
rendering of "Pict," as a word borrowed from Latin : hence comes the name "Pent- 
land " Hills, still written " Pechtland " in the sixteenth century : the name must have 
been given by Teutonic settlers in East Lothian. The name again appears in ' ' Pent- 
land " Forth which was probably applied to it by the Norsemen. 


type of the later Teutonic settlers in the Eastern Lowlands is again 


But the divisions of the Celtic family must be determined by reference 

to the rules of Celtic phonology. The letter p, common in Welsh, is 
Evidence re J ecte d by the Gaelic dialects, where it is represented 
. of by the letter c, " liable to be modified into the guttural 

Language. . 

spirant ch." Thus the Welsh "/*«," = head, is in Gaelic 
11 caenn" : the Welsh mab ("for an older map") is the Gaelic mac= 
" son." Again an initial letter / is essentially Gaelic ; being represented 
in Welsh by giu : so the Gaelic fin?i = " white," becomes gwyn in Welsh. 1 
The Pictish language shows its intermediate position by retaining on the 
one hand the Welsh /, with which Scottish place-names abound ; while 
on the other hand, without altogether rejecting the Welsh gw 9 it generally 
prefers either the Gaelic f, or an intermediate w. Of the Pictish kings 
three are said to have been sons of Wid. This name in Welsh would 
be Gwydd\ in Gaelic Foit or Foitk : and again we have a name Wrad, 
which in Welsh would be Gwriad? The relations of the three languages 
appear to be curiously epitomised in their names for the Roman Walls' 
end on the Forth; which were, British Pengual ; Pictish Penfahel\ and 
Perianal Gaelic I Cenail now Kinneil ; " where Cenail accurately repre- 
Penfahel. sents the pronunciation of the Gaelic cean-f,iaill, literally 
Cenail. jf eac i f \Yall, f being quiescent in construction." 3 

" By Pol Tre and Pen 
One may know the Cornish men." 

All three vocables are found to the North of the Tweed ; where we also 
have a special " Traver " ; (as in Travernent now Tranent ; Traveregles, 
now Terregles ;) a word not found in Wales. 4 But the especial Pictish 
root would seem to be " Pit," properly Pet, as " Pitcairly," " Pitfour " ; 
meaning Portion and = Welsh Peth, old Irish Cuit, and modern Cuid. 5 
One hundred and sixty-five place names beginning with "Pit" are to be 
found in Scotland, between Caithness and the Tweed, but all on the 
Eastern side of the country ; a very large proportion being found in the 
" Kingdom " of Fife, where the Pictish tradition is the strongest. 6 Three 
other root words recognised as Pictish are Anchter, For, and Fin. 
" Auchter is obviously the Gaelic Uachter, upper, and as such we have 

1 See Skene's Celtic Scotland, I. 205, etc. Rhys' C. B., 223. 

2 R. Garnett, Philological Essays, p. 197. 

3 Garnett, p. 198, Bada Hist. Eccl., I. c. 12. Nennius, Mon. Hist. Brit., p. 60, cf. 
Skene, sup., 218. 

4 Skene, sup., 215. 

5 Ex relatione Whitley Stokes ; cf. Skene, sup., 223. 

6 For old British names with the letter p preserved by classical writers (Mons 
Groupius one of them), see Rhys' C. B., 225. Names involving the letter x might 
also perhaps be regarded as Pictish ; see p. 228. This in Welsh ought to be ch or h, in 
Gaelic s or ss. 


it in Ireland. It is not in Wales." For and Fin are contractions from 
Fothuir and Fothen : they again shew the Gaelic / and do not occur in 
Wales. 1 

The affinities and the distinctions as towards the Gael on the one hand, 
and the Britons on the other hand seem pretty well balanced. 

It may not be out of place to remark here that when we come to 
domestic literature we shall find the threefold division of the Celtic race, 
as Britons, Picts, and Scots (Gael) uniformly recognised by all writers. 
If, however, we should find ourselves unable to assign to the Picts a 
co-ordinate position between the Gael and the Britons they must be 
classed with the latter. The prevalence of the letter p and other Welsh 
forms in names of undoubted antiquity seems conclusive on this point. 
For instance the two ancient divisions of the county of Aberdeen, Mar 
and Buchan, seem simply the Welsh for Great and Small. Now the 
Welsh forms must be primitive, because at no time posterior to the 
Roman occupation was there any immigration from Southern into 
Northern Britain by which Welsh forms could have been imported. 
On the other hand we know that the immigration of the Gael-Scots from 
Ireland must have brought, and did in fact bring, a large influx of Gaelic 
forms to overlay or supplant the earlier forms. Thus, the island at the 
mouth of the Firth of Forth is now called Inch Keith, a strictly Gaelic 
name. But it was known to Baeda as " Guidi " where the Welsh gw seems 
traceable. In short the Gaelic names need not be primitive, but the 
Welsh or quasi-Welsh forms must be primitive. 2 

Of the civilization and manners of the early Britons the writings of 
Caesar and other authorities do not give us a high idea; not even with 
respect to the Britons of the South coast. These, no doubt, 
Civflization ^ad a coma g e > as we sna ^ see > but as a whole the people 
could only be described as entering the age of iron ; that is to 
say that with them iron had begun to come into use, without displacing 
bronze, or even stone, which in fact for some purposes outlived bronze. 3 

In the matter of domestic arts and material appliances the life of the 
Britains was certainly primitive. Their dwellings, like those of the Gauls, 
were mere wigwams, circular structures of sticks and reeds ; 4 sometimes, 

1 Skene, sup., 224. The present Finhaven is for Fothenavon. Forteviot for Fothiur- 

2 Mr. Whitley Stokes holds that Pictish " was a Celtic language nearer to Welsh than 
to Irish." Academy, 4th June, 1892, and 20th January, 1894. Linguistic value of 
Irish Annals. So too Prof. Windisch and Mr. A. Macbain. 

3 In a British cemetery, of late date, we have flint flakes and flint scrapers associated 
with implements of bronze, and iron, and pottery of superior make. 

4 The primary meaning of the Welsh " Adail," to ' build,' whence " adeilad," a ' build- 
ing,' is said to be to 'wattle.' D. S. Evans' Welsh Dictionary, cited Rhys. The 
primitive Anglo-Saxon word was to ' timber ' a house (getimbrian), implying more sub- 
stantial structures. 


but only sometimes, resting on stone foundations : their forts and refuges, 
always circular or elliptical in plan, were mere " pahs," fast- 
D Jo e use?" ness m S en i° us ly fenced in with earthworks and palisades. 
Casar praises the efficiency of their war-chariots ; but the use 
of chariots seems to imply that their horses or ponies were mostly too 
small to ride upon. Again it is clear that the Britons tattooed their bodies 1 
Tattooinsr w * tn woac * '> an d we must recognise the fact that their matri- 
monial customs were polyandric. In modern society intel- 
lectual culture is so much bound up with luxury and domestic comfort 
that we can hardly realise culture without comforts. Yet the two are not 
necessarily connected ; and Celtic Ireland still supplies the best proof of 
the fact. A Life of America's great poet tells us of " a ragged Irish 
labourer, unshaven and unshorn " ; reared presumably in a cabin ; who, on 
seeing the inscription on a piece of plate in a shop window in New 
York, exclaimed, " That must be for a prisintation to the poet Longfellow ; 
thim two lines ... is from his poethry." 2 In like manner the 
Britons though primitive were not uncultured. At any rate the world has 
been slow in getting rid of the usages which we deem primitive in them. 
Houses made of clay and wicker work : — " creel houses": — were still known 
in Scotland in the last century ; Berwick-upon-Tweed, the border fortress, 
was only protected by palisades in 1296. To the present day sea-faring 
men in England are frequently tattooed. We can understand what the 
tattoo mark was to the primitive man; it was his colour, his flag, his 
heraldic device, the badge of his race and kin ; and all men are proud of 
their race. What the tattooed heart or anchor represents to the mind of the 
modern Tar it would be hard to say. 

The evidence of British polyandry may appear slight, but when taken in 
connexion with the proofs accumulating from day to day of the wide-spread 
diffusion of such customs in former days, and of their survivals 
in modern days, it must be pronounced sufficient ; 3 and a 
recognition of the fact is necessary for a proper understanding of early Celtic 
society. The theory of the relationship of tribal communities is clearly 
derived from an original mother kinship, afterwards transferred under 

1 Cresar, B. G., v. 14. Ovid, Amorwu, II. xvi. 39: " Viridesque Britannos." The 
poet lived B.C. 43 to a.d. 18 ; also Pliny, Hist. A T at., XXII., c. 2 (a.d. 23-79) ; C. J. 
Solinus (circa a.d. 80) given M. H. £., x. For later notices referring to the Northern 
parts of the Island, see Claudian "In Rufinum," I. 123, M. H. B., xcvii. (a.d. 396) 
"Nee falso nomine Pictos" ; the letter of Sidonius Apollinaris to Lampridius {Epp. viii.) 
cited by Mr. Rhys, sup., 55 (a.d. 431-482); Isidore of Seville, Origg., IX. ii. 103. 
extracted Skene, Chron. Picts and Scots, 339 ; **Scoti propria lingua nomen habent a picto 
corpore" (died a.d. 636), and the St. Gall MS., cited Encycl. Brit., " Ireland " from 
Hattemar, Denkmale, II. 227, 233. 

2 Final Memorials of H. W. Longfellow, by S. Longfellow. 

3 So C. N. Starcke, La Famille Primitive, p. 136 ; and E. Westermarck, History of 
Human Marriage, p. 454 (London, 1891). Neither writer believes in general poly- 


modification^, to communities under the laws of male kinship, male 

eponyms being invented to suit the new state of things. 1 In Southern 

Britain polyandry was passing away, if not gone, by the time of the Roman 

invasion ; there we find kinship distinctly traced on the father's side. 

But for polyandry in the Midlands and the North we have the testimony of 

a series of writers ; 2 with the conclusive fact as regards the latter districts 

that in the royal Pictish House of Scotland, at any rate down to the time 

of Kenneth Macalpin (842-856) descent was traced in the female line. 3 

So in Irish legend the higher gods are spoken of as the " Tuatha De 

Danann" or tribes of the goddess Danu. " In Welsh her 

Irish and name takes the form of Do ft and the gods descended from her 

Welsh are accordingly called the children of Don . . . Their 
Legends. ° J 

father is not usually mentioned." 4 

Probably it will come to be recognised ere long that the mere appear- 
ance of a woman in the position of a reigning queen, in a primitive com- 
munity, is prima facie evidence of polyandry past or present. 
In Britain we are confronted by queens and princesses from 
the very first. 5 

Dion Cassius records the story of the British lady, wife of a Northern 
chieftain, Argentocoxos, who assured Julia Augusta, the wife of Septimius 
Severus, that she could have as many husbands of her own 
Lady 6rn ran ^ as sne pleased. This suggests the prevalence of some- 
thing like the system of the Nairs of Travancore, where the 
sisters live at home with their brothers, the eldest male acting as head of 
the family. The sisters' children are the heirs of the house ; 7 the brother's 
offspring belonging to the houses in which they are born. Thus the family 
property is kept together : there is no need to provide portions for the 
sisters, for they have a joint interest in the family property, which cannot 
be alienated without their consent : 8 they have a voice in all matters of 

1 W. Robertson Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia. The close resemblance 
of bhratri = brother to bhartri = husband is noticed by Max Muller, Academy, 17th Jan., 

2 Cresar, B. G., V. c. 14; Eusebins Pnepar. Evan., M. H. B., xcv. Jerome at- 
tributes polyandry to the North Britons on the authority of natives whom he met in 
Gaul; Id., xcix. See also Strabo, Geogr., iv. 20S, M. H. 2?.,vii. (B.C. 54-to a.d. 21), 
and C. J. Solinus, M. H. B., x. 

:i So Baeda, Hist. Eccl., I. i. s. 7, where, however, a mythical reason is given for the 
custom, so too in the books of Lecain and Ballymote, Printed Chron. Picts and Scots, 40, 
45. See Skene, Celtic Scotland, I., 232, 301, 306, 315, 323. 

4 J. Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, 89, 90. 

5 See below for the Queens Cartismandua and Boudicca. That women were as 
eligible as men for the position of sovereign is distinctly stated by Tacitus : " Neque 
enim sexum in imperils discermmty Agricola, c. 16. 

6 M. H. B., lxi. Dion lived a.d. 155, till after 230. 

7 Cf. F. S. Krauss, Sitte nnd Brauch der Siidslavsn. 

8 Starke, Famille Primitive, 97, 98, suggests that landownership was the root of 
polyandry, at least of one type of it (Paris, 189 1). 


importance; and they enjoy the special respect due to those whose 

children are the heirs of the family. 1 All the essential features of this 

system are traceable in the ancient customs of Ireland. Casar 

Customs 11 s P ea ^ s of tne intermarriage of brothers and sisters as common. 
A well-known case in Brehon law was that of the two sons of 
Parthalon, who were married to their sisters, the ' two chief daughters of 
Parthalon.' 2 So again Dechtere, the sister of Conchobar the Ulster hero T 
acted not only as his charioteer, but also as his bedfellow/ 5 Another lead- 
ing case was that of Dorn daughter of Buidhe who had committed an 
offence against family law by connecting herself with a stranger, a Pict or 
Albanach, by whom she had a son, without the privity or consent of the 
family. For this offence, when need came for a hostage to be given up, 
she was the person selected. But her son, mongrel Pict though he was, 
belonged to the family in her right — and it was for a murder committed 
by him, along with other members of the family, that the unfortunate 
woman was given into bondage. 4 

The right of the family to control the connexions formed by the female 
members 5 must have been based on the theory that a child prima facie 
belonged to the mother's family. Again the child of a woman carried off 
by force from her family, if born within a month, belonged to her family ; 
and the father had to buy it from them if he wished to have it. 6 Again 
we hear of the independent woman living in her own house and receiving 
the visits of her 'husband' there. This was recognised as a special form of 
marriage with definite legal incidents. 7 This recals the " Beena " wife of 
Ceylon and early Arabia ; and, more remotely, the Roman wife who 
retained her independent status by absenting herself for one day in the 
year from her husband's house. The form of capturing a wife gone through 
in Irish and Welsh weddings suggests that exclusive rights over a wife may 

1 Ex relatione Atholl Macgregor, H.M.I.C.S., for five years in charge of the Malabar 
District, and again for five years Resident at Travancore. 

2 Senchus Mor, I. 155. For other cases see Rhys' Hibbert Lectures, 308, 431. 

3 Rhys' Hibbert Lectures, 431. For further cases, one Welsh, one Irish, see p. 308. 
For polygamy and incest cf. Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, by Whitley Stokes, I. clxviii. 
For the story of Queen Medband her three husbands, Ld., xiv. (Rolls Series). The inter- 
marriage of brothers and sisters seems closely connected with polyandry generally. 
Westermarck, sup., 451-459; Starcke, 132. 

4 See the whole case, Senchus Mor, I. 65-77. This book claims to give a code of 
ancient Irish custom or law modified so as to bring its rules into harmony with Christian 
teaching. The original compilation is ascribed to a committee of nine ; three kings, 
three bishops (St. Patrick one of them), and three Wise Men. But the oldest MS. dates 
about A. D. 1350. The work as we have it is a collection of texts of varying degrees of 
antiquity, with later commentaries and illustrations. At times the language of the texts 
seems too archaic for the commentators : at times they perplex the reader by referring 
to familiar texts by the opening words only. 

5 See again Id., I. 181., II. 403. G Ld., III. 451. 
7 Ld., II. 397, 399. 


have been first recognised in the case of captives taken in war ; and that 

when monogamy became popular the old tribe law was evaded 

as a form of by a legal fiction of wife-capture. 1 ' Connexion of abduction ' 

Marriage, w j t | 1 a woma n carried off from her family (fine) is specially 

noticed in the Senchus. 2 
In Irish law, to the latest times, little or no distinction was drawn 
between legitimate and illegitimate children. If an office was hereditary 
in a family, bastardy was no bar to election, as in the noto- 

I1 c£SS^ rious case of Hu S h °' Neil as late as the l6th century, when 
he was allowed to succeed to a peerage though the offspring 
of an adulterous intercourse. 3 

Of Celtic society the primitive social and political unit must have been 

the joint family (Irish, fine), owning and cultivating in common 
CeScFamny a ^ am ^y estate, under the general direction of an elective head, 

who would naturally be the oldest or the ablest male member 
of the house. This family should be regarded as a group elastic enough 
to expand in time to a petty tribe (tuath) or village, 4 its general character 
being that of a small autonomous community. The relations of the mem- 
bers of the family to each other were strictly defined, the general principle 
being that of copartnership with mutual liability and responsibility. The 
family shared the fines payable for injuries done to a member, and received 
the whole of the fine due for the murder of a member. So on the other 
hand they were liable for the penalties incurred by the misconduct of a 
member. 5 Contracts which might affect the family could not be entered 
into without consent ; thus a member could not without consulting the 
others rent land on his own account ; 6 but if he found himself unable to 
cultivate his own share of the family land he might arrange with another 

1 See Sir J. Lubbock, Origin of Man, p. 104, etc. 2 II. 401, 403. 

s Id., III. cxlvi. It must be stated that the act was that of the English Government, 
done from political motives ; but no Government could have taken such a step if there 
had not been some warrant for it in local custom ; anyhow a report made by Sir John 
Davis, Attorney-General for Ireland, to the Earl of Salisbury (1606) tells us that in the 
succession to lands ' there is no difference made between legitimate sons and bastards.' 
Skene, Celtic Scotland, III. 197. 

4 "Among the people of Gaelic race the original social unit appears to have been 
the ' Tuath,' a name originally applied to the tribe, but which came to signify also 
the territory occupied by the tribe community." Skene, Celtic Scotland, III. 136. 
The writer goes on to argue that the Fine, as meaning the sept or clan under a later 
aspect, was posterior to the Tuath. So it probably was, but as he admits that "the 
original bond of union between the members of the tribe was belief in a common 
origin," the tribe must have emerged from a family of some sort, a fine, in fact. Id., 
138, 171. In Wales a family estate was called a " wele " or "gwely," rendered 
"lectum"or Bed. The individual portions of the sons were " gavells." Seebohm, 
Tribal System, 31, etc. 

5 Senchus Mor, II. 135, 137, 309. 

6 Id., II. 217, 223, 224 note, 307. Again, a man might not, in strictness, mortgage 
his share, or adopt a stranger, etc., 283-289. 


for help in the work. 1 Under certain conditions a family might expel an 
incorrigible member, and so clear themselves of all further liability on his 

In assessing fines and penalties the standard unit of value (set) was a 

cow ; three cows being equal to one " cumal " or female 

ta vaiue d ° f s ^ ave -' 5 I n Scottish and Welsh legislation also the cow appears 

as a standard of value. 4 
Towards externs the relations of the family were less well defined. At 
the best they were of a diplomatic nature. In the absence of central 
authority wrongs could only be redressed in the last resort by retaliation 
and force of arms. ' A foot for a foot ; an eye for an eye ; 
RelaUons life for life '; 5 this was the primary maxim to the last. But 
the necessities of society had led at an early stage to the estab- 
lishment of a tariff of pecuniary fines for all sorts of injuries, by payment 
of which compensation might be made to the injured party, and the right 
of retaliation waived. But there was no power to compel the parties either 
to make or accept the satisfaction except the force of public opinion, and 
the mediation of friends exercised in the interests of peace. If the 
wrong-doer refused to make amends, and his family did not care to abet 
him, they might give him up to the injured party, who might kill him if 
he pleased ; but the right to kill the wrong-doer was strictly personal to 
the injured party, and any man killing the wrong-doer, except by the 
direction of the injured party, would be guilty of murder. 7 

The fines varied not only according to the injury done, but also accord- 
ing to the social position of the injured person. Each social 
T Fin^s 0f § rac ^ e na d i ts value or Honor-price (Enechla?m). The fine for 
murder was called Eric, and was equal to the full Honor 
price : minor fines for injuries done to a man's person or property were 
called Smacht fines and Dire fines. 8 Under the later system part of the 
fines went to the Flath (chief or landlord) and the king, and in fact 
formed no inconsiderable part of their revenues. 9 

Traces of similar institutions are to be found in Wales and the Celtic 
parts of modern Scotland, but with respect to these districts we have no 

1 Senchus Mor, III. 359. 

2 Id., III. 381. The king became responsible for these outlaws. 

3 Encycl. Brit., " Ireland," p. 256. Trip. Life of St. Patrick, W. Stokes, I. cli. 

4 See Acts of Parliament of Scotland, I. 299, cited Skene. Fordun, II. 448. See- 
bohm, Tribal System of Wales, 106, 216, etc. 

5 Senchus, I. 9. 

6 Down to the latest days of Irish independence law-suits could only be determined 
by arbitration. Hy Many, 161. Tripartite Life, I. clxxiii. See more below. 

7 Senchus, III. lxxxi. See also below. 

8 In Welsh law the murder-fine appears as "Galanas," and the minor fine as 
"Sarhad." In Scottish law we have "Cro" and "Geldach," and in Anglo-Saxon 
" YVer " and " Bot." Robertson, Scotland, II. 284. 

9 See W. F. Skene, Celtic Scotland, III. 152. 


records comparable in antiquity with those to be found in the Senchus 
Mor. In this collection we have evidences of a primitive Aryan society 
untouched by Roman or other extraneous influences. Our earliest autho- 
rities for Welsh and Scottish institutions belong to much later ages, 1 and 
exhibit systems of more mingled origins. 

The following passages from the Senchus seem to show the Irish Fine in 
its primitive simplicity. ' The family {fine) can impugn among themselves, 
they can impugn outside ; they make oath, they relieve each other ; the 
family sustains itself.' 

'Let every member (fear-fine) keep his family-land; let him not sell 
it or alienate it ... or give it to pay for crimes or contracts. 2 He 
may impugn the contracts of his family, and every contract of his kins- 
man for whose crimes and contracts . . . he is liable.' 

* He cannot impugn contracts who wounds or betrays by evil deeds and 
evil compacts ; who alienates his family lands ; who has adopted one of a 
strange family ; who does not share the family property with profits and 
losses ; who does not observe justice.' 

'The head of each family should be the man of the family who is the 
most experienced, the most noble, the most wealthy, the wisest, most 
learned, . . . most substantial to sue or be sued.' 3 

But at the time when we get our first historic insight into Britain, Celtic 

society in some regions had travelled beyond that stage. In 

Fei tion iSa " Gaul we find a powerful territorial aristocracy (equites) in 

possession of all property and influence ; the peasantry being 

poor, in debt, and reduced to practical, if not actual, serfdom. 4 In Britain 

we find kings bearing rule, and that fact alone would imply an advance on 

the system of the fine pure and simple. It is not too much to assume 

that these British kings were of the same type as those that held sway in 

Ireland down to very recent periods. 5 In Ireland the lowest in the scale 

of 'kings' was the ri-tnaith or ' tuath-king.' 6 The tuath thus becomes 

the political unit : it was apparently a development of the fine ; the word 

originally meaning 'people,' but ultimately coming to signify 'district,' 

the sense in which it is now used. 7 As a social group we may 

Develop- regard the tuath as an enlarged fine^ or an aggregate of fines : 

Tribe, the head man of the leading family would be the tuath-king. 

Further agglomerations of iuatha would result in the Tuath 

1 For early Welsh society, see Seebohm, Tribal System in Wales ; and Skene, sup. y 
197 ; for early Scottish society, see Id., 209. 

2 See also Senchus, III. 63. 3 Senchus Mor, II. 279-285. 

* Coesar, de Bello Galileo, VI. c. 13. 5 Rhys, C. B., 63. 

E. O'Curry, Lectures, I. cexxix. (Introduction, W. K. Sullivan) ; Seebohm, Tribal 
System in Wales, 61, 134, etc. 

7 " It glosses populus in the Wb. M. S. of Zeuss." Joyce, Irish Names oj Places, 
p. 123. Whitley Stokes gives three Irish words for tribe: claim, cenel, and tuath. 
Trip. Life, clxxi. For those in Scotland, see F.J. H. Skene's Fordun, II. 443, Appendix. 


Mor (big-tuath) and the provincial kingdom (Cuicidh)^ with 'Kings' and 

* High-Kings ' (Ardrigan) rising in regular succession.* It is 

Kingship, probable that military conquest was a leading agent in effecting 

these unions, the conquered tribes being obliged to enrol 

themselves in the victorious families. In Scotland it is said that the 

Campbells, a militant clan, compelled many minor clans to assume their 


In time of war the Irish king (Ri) appears as the Toisech or Captain.' 1 
But all times the royal office was partly elective, partly hereditary, the 
electors being restricted in their choice to the members of a particular 
family, 4 as among the Anglo-Saxons. It is expressly stated that the king 
was not only elective but also liable to deposition. 5 It was also requisite 
that he should be free from all personal blemish : a blemish the result of 
an accident might involve deposition. 6 Careful as the law was to incul- 
cate deference to the ' royal ' will ; it is clear that the ' king's ' legitimate 
authority was small, and that his rule was more like the leadership of the 
elder brother of a joint family than the absolute control of a Roman 
paterfamilias over the children of his begetting. A special check on the 
authority of the king was provided by the institution of Tanistry, 
a truly Celtic custom, apparently devised to ensure the maxi- 
mum of strife and discord. Under this system the installation of a king 
was immediately followed by the election of a successor, or Tanist, who 
stood as it were on the steps of the throne, to watch the king's proceed- 
ings. In the case of the premature death of the Tanist — no uncommon 
occurrence — another was immediately appointed. To make confusion 
worse confounded, the rule, at least in some tribes, was to take the Tanist 
from a rival branch of the royal family, so that the different houses might 
reign alternately. 7 It would also seem that the Tanist rule applied to petty 
chieftainship as well as to offices of royal dignity. 

That the kingship, or chieftainship, as in many cases we should be 
inclined to call it, properly belonged rather to a dominant family than to 
a personal succession or dynasty appears from the fact that the regalian 
dues, in certain cases at least, were payable to ' the family of the king/ 8 

1 Literally, ' Fifth Part,' referring to the number of the Provinces. 

2 O'Curry, Lectures, I. ccxxix-ccxxxi. (Introduction). 

3 The name also appears in Scottish history, Skene, C. S<, III. 216. For the elective 
chief in Gaul in time of war, see E. W. Robertson, Scotland under Early Kings, I. 24. 
We shall find the same practice among the Anglo-Saxons. 

4 Skene, sup., 141. So too with respect to the appointment of abbots in Irish mona- 

5 Senchus, I. 55. Tribes of Hy Many, J. O'Donovan, p. 161 (Irish Archceol. Society). 

6 Id., I. 73- 

7 So at least in the united Scoto-Pictish kingdom. Skene, I. 230. For Tanistry, see 
Robertson, Scotland under Early Kings, I. 36. 

8 Hy Many, sup., 64. 


The limited extent of the territorial tuatha may be gathered from the fact 
that in general they are represented by the modern baronies. 1 

Attached to the royal office for the king's support were certain portions 
of the tribal lands, mensal lands. These of course were independent of 
his own private property. He was also entitled to a certain 
Endowments. amount of entertainment at free quarters for himself, his ser- 
vants, horses and hounds. This right was "called Coininm 
corrupted into Coigny" Above all he was entitled to a share of all the 
fines exigible in judicial proceedings. The ardri or over-king would also 
receive tribute, paid in kind, ' food-rents,' from the vassal kings ; the con- 
nexion between them involving in the first instance an advance of stock 
from the superior to the inferior, as if their relations were those of landlord 
and tenant. 2 But this may represent a comparatively late state of things, 
and not the primitive monarchy. For the Senchus, as a working manual 
of old texts and modern interpretations, embodies fragments from social 
formations of very different epochs. A. passage which must be pronounced 
much later than some of those above extracted gives the following insight 
into the then constitution of the Tuath. 

1 Of Corns 3 tuaith (tuath law) there be three branches. 

(i) Corns flat ha 4 (Chief or Landlord law). 

(2) Corns fine (Family law). 

(3) Corns feine (Law of the Lower Orders. 5 

Under these heads alongside of the old family law we find a mass of 
new rules dealing with the relations of landlord and tenant; and with 
those of lord and vassal, implying not only individual ownership of land, 

Accumuia- ^ ut a ^ s0 considerable accumulations of land in single hands, 
tionof We hear of free tenants (Saer Ceiie), and bond or servile 

Property. tenants {jj aer Ceile) ; we have cottars, ' strangers ' and de- 
pendants : we have, within the tribe, higher orders (Grad Flaith, Aire), 
and lower orders {Grad Feine), with minute subdivisions of rank in each 
class. 6 All these are based on property either in live-stock or land, and 
on propinquity in blood to the landlord or chief. This implies a con- 

1 O'Curry, sup., xcviii. 

2 Skene, III. 142, 151. For regalian dues in Wales, food-rents, and entertainment on 
progresses, see Seebohm, sup., 25, 155, etc. For Scotland, Skene, sup., 227. 

3 For renderings of the various Irish terms for law and custom, see Whitley Stokes, 
Trip. Life, sup., clxxiii. ' Proper order ' is suggested for Corns. 

4 In the translation yfoM is frequently rendered "lord" and "chief," but the mean- 
ing seems clearly "landowner." The Scottish word "laird" probably comes nearest 
to it, including chiefs and minor persons. 

5 Senchus, III. 17. 

6 Thus above the Fer Midba, or inferior class of freeman, we have six grades of the 
Boaire (cow-lord) grade, distinguished by the amount of their cattle and other animals, 
and five of the Aire or landed-gentry grade, besides the Tanist and King or Chief. 
Skene, 142-145, citing the Senchus. For similar gradations in Wales (only less minute) 
see Seebohm, 8, no, 116, 119. 


siderable change in the state of things from the times of the family-tribe, 
with its joint ownership and general social equality. The tribe has been 
feudalized. The process must have run its full course when we find it 
laid down that 'to the tenant the Flath is as a king' (Ri) j 1 and that 
1 every Flath may judge his own tenants.' 2 So too he receives the share 
of the fines, and claims to control his tenants' contracts. 3 Every Flath 
is to his tenants as a petty king, but every Flath is not the head man of 
his tribe, 4 he is one out of several within the tribe. The head of the 
tribe in the latest days of Irish independence was generally styled its 
Toisech or Captain, the title of Ri being mostly reserved for the rulers of 
bigger ' countries,' while the Flaith were also called Odaich* But if the 
Survivals of tr ^ e nas been feudalised to a certain extent, the old principles 
Primitive are not wholly forgotten. King, Toisech, and Tcmist are still 
eory * in theory elective. ,; If the " fee simple " or "legal estate" in 
the land is vested in the chief, it is only under burden of supporting his 
kindred within certain degrees of relationship, apparently within 
the third degree in descent. 7 Each of these according to his 
degree is entitled to a certain allotment of land, rendering 
R ment. t " certam dues to the chief. But " no estate passed," and the 
chief could allot these portions, and again throw them into 
hotchpot and re-divide and re-allot them as he pleased. 8 No explanation 
is given of the object of such a proceeding, but we must take it to have 
been connected with the system of cultivation in common, of which we 
shall hear more. It was probably intended to secure equality among the 
portions. But independently of these periodic re-allotments a fresh dis- 
tribution of the land upon a new basis would seemingly have to take 
place at the death of each chief, when a new table of degrees of kinship 
would or might have to be drawn up. 

On the other hand it would seem that if a family held an allotment for 
three full generations without a change their title became absolute. 9 What 
became of the men thrown out of the magic family circle by the advent 

1 Senchus, II. 209. 2 Id., 345. 3 Id., 299, etc. 

4 See the passages cited, Skene, 184, where the Flath is clearly placed below the 
Ri Tuaith. 

5 See the instances from different parts of Ireland, Skene, III. 157-161, etc. Various 
Tuatha are named with one Toisech to each, and from four to seventeen Oclaich. 

6 See the agreement between Queen Elizabeth and the Hy Many or O'Kelly's, 6th 
August, 1589, 'all elections to be utterly abolished.' Skene, sup., 161 ; also Robertson, 
sup., II. 465. 

7 So at least in Scotland, Robertson, II. 260, and in Wales, Skene, III. 199, 205, 
Seebohm, sup. 91. 

8 See the Inquisition taken at Mallow in 1594, Robertson, 465 ; also the report of 
Sir John Davis to the Earl of Salisbury (1606), extracted Skene, 165, 196. In the 
feudalised Welsh manor of the 14th century the right of redistribution seems to have 
been converted into an escheat to the lord. Seebohm, 45, from the Denbigh Extent of 
1335- 9 Skene, 144 : so too in Wales, 199. 

R. H. C 


of a new chief does not clearly appear. All sons, whether legitimate or 
not, inherited alike, 1 anyhow the result of the whole system was to keep 
agriculture at lowest stage, and to favour the breaking up of holdings. 
We are told that the land 'had been from time to time divided and 
sub-divided ... as almost every acre . . . had a several owner, 
who termeth himself a lord and his portion of land a country.' 2 Amid the 
squabbling and confusion- which such a system must have fostered it is 
interesting to hear that special provision was made for religion and 
culture. Besides the inalienable mensal lands of the chief, 
Endowments endowments were provided for the Church, and for the 

Brenons. Brehon, the Bard, the Sennachy or historian and others, being 
representatives of the old Druid class, of which anon ; these 
lands were distinguished as ' freelands ' being exempt from the dues and 
liabilities attaching to other possessions. 3 

It must have been under this feudalised state of the tribe that the 
inhabitants of a tuath are spoken of as ' the large family,' or clann of the 
Flath. The theoretic blood-relationship is shown by the use of family 
names, O'Kellys, O'Connors, and the like, to denote the inhabitants of a 
district. 4 

But again we are glad to hear that the duty of protecting his tenants 
1 against every injustice that he is able ' is clearly laid on the flath.^ 

This clan system is as well known in connexion with Scottish as with 
Irish history. In mediaeval times we find a Scottish magnate undertaking 
obligations not for himself only, but also for all his ' Kin friends and 
men,' 6 a formula unknown in English history. 

A disposition to lean on others must be held one of the tendencies of 

Celtic nature. The feeling of citizenship had little hold upon Celts. 

The bonds that held society together were rather personal than 

Bases of c i v ii. The Celts allowed their original tribe meetings to be 

Society, deprived of all political importance. The Teutons retained 

and developed them. " To the retention or loss of this 

essential element of an automatous tribe-community the difference of the 

fortunes of the Celtic and Teutonic races is mainly referable." 7 The total 

1 Sir John Davis, sup., speaks of succession in "gavelkind," which in the mouth of an 
English lawyer would mean equal succession. 

2 Sir John Davis, sup. 

3 Id., Skene, 148, 168: see also 162. 

4 See Skene, 162 (from the Tribes of Hy Many), 195, etc. The strictly blood-relations 
were distinguished within the clan as the " Cinel " or " Cenel," in Wales ' Cenedl.' 

5 Senchus, II. 345, cf. Seebohm, sup., 71. 

6 ' ' Ye said lordis ar bundyn and oblist yaim selfis yair kyn friendis and men," etc., 
A.D. 1465. MS. cited Tytler, Scotland, IV., 404. So John Lord of the Isles pledges 
himself" pro consanguineis et consiliariis suis," a.d. 1481 ; Fad., XII. 140. 

7 Merivale, Rom. Hist., I. 255. See Senchus Mor, III. xxvi. Compare the case of 
Orgetorix, who, -when a meeting had been called to consider his conduct swamped it 


absence of any provision for permanent legislative action is one of the 

most remarkable features of the Brehon law. 1 Records of 

N °Uon iSla " P°P l ^ ar meetings of any political importance are rare in Irish 

history. On the other hand the duty of deference to the 

will of the chief, whether king, chief, or landlord, is constantly inculcated 

under the penalty of bringing down the wrath of Heaven, failure of crops, 

and barrenness of cattle.- 

The entire absence of judicial machinery among the Celts was equally 
remarkable. One of the most recent investigators of Gaulish institutions 
tells us that in ancient Gaul he could see no central tribunal ; 
°tur3. Ca no P ower to decide between tribe and tribe. 3 

In the Scottish Highlands the only public courts known 
even in later mediaeval times were the circuit courts at Aberdeen and 
Inverness, and they emanated from the king's court at Edinburgh, itself 
an institution borrowed from England. North and west of Inverness 
there would be no law but the law of the local chieftains only, con- 
trolled by the force of public opinion. In the Brehon code the only 
judicial proceeding known was arbitration. A criminal action being in 
fact a suit for damages, criminal and civil suits alike began with a ' distress,' 
that is to say the formal seizure or impounding of some chattel. If the 
defendant was prepared to submit his case to legal arbitration he gave 
security, and the distraint was released. A large part of the Senchus 
Mor is devoted to limiting and denning this mode of procedure, which 
was known as athgabdil. Notice of an intended distress was in all cases 
requisite. 4 If the rank of the defendant was such as to make the arrest of 
a chattel useless or impracticable the only alternative left to the plaintiff 
was 'to fast upon him ; (troscud) ; that is to say, to sit down at his doorstep, 
to remain there without eating or drinking, till the defendant 

"Fasting was shamed into giving security to submit his case to arbitra- 
tion" . . ° ° J 
Adversary, tion. In India the practice was known down to the last 

century as " sitting dharna " ; 5 a proof that the custom dates 

from times anterior to the separation of the Aryan races. 

If fasting failed nothing remained but social ostracism. " He who does 
not give a pledge to fasting is an evader of all ; he who disregards all 
things shall not be paid by God or man." G 

As 'distress' and 'fasting' were the only remedies for past injuries, 
so the exaction of hostages was the only security for the future observance 

with his 'family,' i.e., his retainers and defendants. "Omnemsuam familiam 
coegit ; et omnes clientes oboeratosque suos," etc. Caesar, B. G., I. c. 4. 
1 Senchus, III. xxiv. '-' Ibid, and xxv. 27. 

3 D'Arbois de Jubainville, Revue Critique, VI. 5. 

4 Senchus, I. 64-305; II. 1-131. I spell athgabdil as spelled by Mr. Whitley 
Stokes, Trip. Life. 

5 Senchus, I. xlviii. 113-119. 6 Id., I. 1 13. 


of a compact. ' The hostages ' appear as a regular and dismal inci- 
dent of every petty Irish Court. 1 In the retinues of the Irish 
kings long trains of officials are found : stewards, poets, doctors, 
door-keepers, butlers, keepers of horses, keepers of hounds ; 2 but no 
officer to keep the peace. Irish jurisprudence to the last 
failed to evolve the elementary institutions of a peace-officer, 
a tribunal with settled forms of procedure, or a judge with power to enforce 
his decrees. 

A fully franchised member of the community was called aire ; 3 owner- 
ship of land or membership in one of the recognised families, were the 

primary qualifications : but the possession of twenty-one cows 
Social Ranks. \ '/J, ' . K . ... , J ... 

also entitled a man to rank as aire ; in this case he was distin- 

tinguished as a bo-aire, or covv-aire. Where land was let to a tenant it 
appears to have been usual for the landowner to advance a certain 
amount of stock, receiving a proportion of the increase. This tenure was 
known in Scotland as " steelbow." In Ireland the tenure 
^enancies^ m ig nt ^ e either base, arising from vassalage, and involving 
personal service {daer tenure) ; or free, arising simply ex 
contractu, and involving no personal service (saer tenure). 4 In the case 
of arable land the crop was divisible into three parts : one for the land- 
owner ; one for the man who found the seed ; and one for the tiller of the 
soil. 5 One-third of all that grows or increases was the regular rent. 6 A 
large proportion of the labour was evidently done by women ; 7 but the 
rights of a woman, whether as wife, mother, or labourer, were very much 
on a par with those of a man. 8 

Nothing was known of perpetuity or tenant-right, but the law encouraged 
continuity by imposing slight penalties on eviction without due cause. It 
is needless to say that the only "people" to whom the land belonged 
in those days were the members of the landowning families. 

Some scholars hold that the lands of the Flatha were owned in severalty 
as apart from the ordinary tribe lands, and without any liability to redis- 
tribution by the chief. 9 Such lands were styled Orba, lands of inheritance 
(Germ. Erbe). That some lands were owned by individuals, not by fami- 

1 See also Trip. Life, clxxii. 2 See, e.g., Skene, 162. 

3 So the writers in the Encyclo. Brit., "Ireland," p. 357. Whitley Stokes gives airig 
as a class of gentry above the mere freeman or soir, Trip. Life, clxxii. The former, 
however, suggest that only heads of the smaller families would be aire. 

4 Senchus, II. xlviii. L. The 'laws' of saer and daer tenants fill two chapters of the 
Senclms, I. 41, etc. Whitley Stokes gives the words soir and doir as ' free ' and ' unfree.' 
For free and unfree tenants in Wales, see Seebohm, 91, 14. It is plain, though the 
writer does not point out the fact, that the unfree must have been settled on the lands 
of the larger proprietors. 5 Senclms, II. 411. 

« Id., III. 127. » Idi IL 3 6 7) 37Ij cf . 393j 4IO , 8 M} n . 345) 3 g 3 . 

9 So Skene, sup., 148, and J. Fordun, II. 444 (append.), also the writers in Enaycl. 
Brit., "Ireland," 257. 


lies or tribes, even in early times is certain. 1 It is not too much to sup- 
pose that the ownership of an individual parcel of land, no 
ofLand P matter by what title, would raise a man to the rank of Flath. 
But there seems nothing to shew that even the official heads 
of Tuatha, whether Kings Toisech or Tanists, necessarily owned any pro- 
perty in severalty, as apart from the mensal lands, which, of course, for the 
time being, would always be owned in severalty. Still less does there 
seem to be ground for attributing such ownership to the larger class 
of F/atha, also styled Odaicli. Sir John Davis in his report distinctly 
states that apart from the endowments of the chiefs, clergy, and Brehons, 
1 all the other lands holden by the inferior inhabitants are partable in course 
of gavelkind ' \ 2 where no doubt the use of the word " inferior " intro- 
duces some uncertainty. But we must point out that the grades of Flatha 
were determined not by the title by which they held their estate, but by 
its extent, and specially by the number of their undertenants. 3 A near 
relative of the chief holding a big plot of tribe land would be just as much 
a landlord to his undertenants as if he held an individual estate of inherit- 
ance. Whether the demesne lands of the chiefs or other larger proprietors 
cultivated by their serfs or labourers, would be exempt from the law 
of cultivation in common, is quite another point, but one on which we 
cannot speak with any confidence. 

Cultivation in common was clearly the rule. It is spoken of as one 
of the ' laws ' of the tenants. The requirement was presumably accom- 
panied by rules for the redistribution of the holdings from 
in U Confmon. time to t[mQ ( a redistribution to be carefully distinguished 
from that consequent on a devolution of property). A wretched 
system, intended to secure equality, but in practice presenting an utter bar 
to any permanent improvement of the soil. This system, under the name 
of "Rundale," still obtained in some estates in Donegal within this 
century; 4 it is also remembered in Scotland as " Runrig." Co-tillage 
is likewise mentioned in the Welsh Triads as a standing institution. 5 But 
the system was not specially Celtic, being common to the Teutons and 
other races. 6 

1 See Whitley Stokes' Trip. Life, clxxv. 

2 Skene, C. S., III. 197. a See Id., 145-147- 

4 The redistribution of holdings, as described by a proprietor from Donegal, was 
wholly managed by the tenants among themselves, without any intervention on the part 
of the landlord. 

5 See the quotation, SeebohnV-fiVz^/. Village Comm., 192, where cotillage is given as 
one of the bonds of free Welsh tribesmen. For more, see Id., 119. 

6 See more below. 



PERHAPS the most interesting institution of the ancient Celtic world, 
and that which has attracted most attention, was that of the Druids. 

„ „ ,_ The subject has by no means been exhausted, and in fact is 
The Druids. J . J ' 

only just beginning to be understood. The Druids (Irish drui, 
Welsh derwyddon x ) were a sort of corporation or hierarchy of wise men, 
men of learning, held in great honour, and enjoying special immunities, 
such as exemption from military service, taxation, and other public 
burdens. 2 They have been described as "soothsayers, priests and 
medicine men"; 3 but none the less they were the depositaries of the 
learning of the age, such as it was. They represented Law, Physic and 
Divinity, with Science to boot. 4 From one point of view the deference 
paid to them may be taken to indicate a respect for culture on the part of 
a people of literary instincts : from another and a more important point of 
view it represented an effort on the part of primitive society to set up a 
standard of right and wrong as against the all-prevailing empire of brute 
force. In this aspect the higher Druids were priest-judges ; depositaries 
of the Common Law of the race ; whose decisions were admitted to be 
final as enunciations of law, civil or criminal ; but who had no means of 
enforcing their decrees, except perhaps by a sentence of excommunication. 5 
This if enforced would probably involve a sort of social ostracism, but 
ostracism would be hard to enforce against a man of influence. 

As already mentioned, the Druids were not a caste, but a corporation, 
with a chief Druid as president, an officer elected for life. New members 

1 Rhys' C. £., 69, 70. The name is found on the most indisputable native records ; 
e.g., a stone in the Isle of Man has " Dovaido maqi Droata," where for " Droata " 
others read " Druada" ; in either case= Dovaido, son of the Druid. J. Rhys and Whitley 
Stokes, Academy, 16 and 23 August, 1890. 

2 " Neque tributa una cum reliquis pendunt, militoe vacationem omniumque rerum 
habent immunitatem." Ccesar, B. C, VI. c. 14. 

3 Rhys, sup. 

4 "Rebus divinis intersunt sacrificia publica et privata procurant religiones interpre- 
tantur," " de sideribus atque eorum motu, de mundi ac terrarum magnitudine de rerum 
natura . . . disputant." Cresar, sup., 13, 14. 

5 "Nam fere de omnibus controversiis publicis privatisque constituunt . . . 
prsemia poenasque constituunt : si qui aut privatus aut publicus eorum decreto non stetit 
sacrificiis interdicunt. Haec poena apud eos est gravissima." 



were admitted after due course of study and probation, which might last a 

period of twenty years. 1 The instruction was imparted orally, 
Co-optation. ... 

the neophytes being made to learn quantities of verse by heart. 

Cresar thought this strange, inasmuch as the Gaulish Druids, at any rate, 
were acquainted with the Greek character, of which they made use in other 
matters. 2 But Caesar probably did not appreciate the difficul- 
ties in such a state of society of procuring writing materials for 
the purposes of education or general literature. To the present day in 
Arabia and Hindustan a large part of the native literature is transmitted 
orally, compositions being thrown into metrical form to facilitate repeti- 

In Caesar's time Druidical learning flourished equally in Gaul and 
Britain. In the former country its headquarters were in the central 
district of the Camutes, or modern Chartrain, where a grand gathering 
used to be held once a year, when suits and questions of all sorts were 
referred to the wise men for decision. The system was supposed to have 
originated in Britain ; '-' J but it seems more likely that the system, such as 
it was, had merely maintained itself in greater purity in the Island than on 
the Continent, where it would be more exposed to contact with extraneous 
influences. As the cult of people described as specially superstitious 4 
we may believe that Druidism had in it not a little of mysticism and 
charlatanry. Yet in their religious teaching the Druids " had reached the 
first article of a creed, the belief in a human personality that should outlive 
the body : but they held it in its lowest form, the doctrine of the trans- 
migration of souls." 5 

By the Romans Druidism was regarded with suspicion as something 

they did not understand, something calculated to keep alive a spirit of 

nationality; and accordingly it was suppressed throughout the Empire. 

But there is no reason to believe that elsewhere it died out all at once. 

In North Britain and Ireland the early Christian missionaries 

Survivals of f oun d Druidism flourishing at the courts of the British and 
Druidism. . . ° . 

Irish kings. In the biographies of St. Patrick and St. 

Columba the Druids are treated as magicians, vain pretenders to super- 
natural gifts, and as such ranked with Jannes and Jambres and Simon 
Magus. 6 When Christianity became established the Druids would lose 
their sacerdotal functions, which they had to surrender to the new priest- 

1 " Annos nonnulli vicenos in disciplina permanent." Ccesar, sup., 13. 

2 " Cum in reliquis fere rebus, publicis privatisque rationibus, Groecis utantur Uteris, " 
sup., c. 14. 3 B. G., VI. 13; Tacitus, Ann., c. 14, 29. 

4 "Natio est omnium Gallorum admodum dedita religionibus," etc. Cxsar, B. G., 
VI. c. 16. 

5 " In primis hoc volunt persuadere non interne animam sed ab aliis post mortem 
transire ad alios," etc. Cnesar, B. G., VI. 14. Pearson, History of England, I. 18. 
For a case of transmigration in Irish Legend, see Rhys' Hibbert Lectures, 431. 

G Rhys, C. B., 70 and notes. 


hood ; but in other respects we seem to trace the institution lingering on 
down to times comparatively recent. 1 As professional jurists, the de- 
positaries of an ancient Common Law, the Brehons 2 appear to 
The Brehons. l . 

be the direct descendants of the older Druids, with this single 

modification that they became a hereditary caste. In all other respects 
the functions and positions of the two sets of men seem indistinguishable. 
Both could give legal advice ; enunciate the law ; act as arbiters ; but not 
enforce a decree. The poem of Dubhthach given in the introduction to 
the SencJius, as a mixture of law, religion, astronomy, and cosmogony, 
answers in every respect to Csesar's description of a Druidic lay. If 
Dubhthach's verses had been before him he could not have summarised 
them better than he does. 3 As beneath the arch-Druid we have Druids 
and Druids ; so beneath the arch-Brehon and Brehon we have grades of 
Poets (fill), and Doctors or teachers ^ollamh), men enjoying definite posi- 
tions by virtue of educational franchises; acquired through systematic 
courses of study. 4 

In connexion with Celtic culture we may notice the indigenous script — 

the Ogham alphabet. Clumsy it may be in some respects, but still very 

ingenious, the Ogmic writing. This character seems to have 

A?phabet b een originally intended for monumental inscriptions on rect- 
angular pillars of stone. The consonants are formed by long 
strokes, or groups of strokes, cut along one or other of the faces of the 
pillar from the angle ; the vowels are represented by shorter stokes or 
notches cut across the angle. For writing on parchment or the like a 
horizontal line or stem was drawn across the page, and the letters were 
indicated by strokes above, below, or across the stem. 

Stones inscribed with these characters have been found in Ireland, 
Devonshire, South Wales, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and recently at 
Silchester, the Roman Calleva Atrebatum. Some of the Irish stones bear 
evidences of a very high antiquity. Of fifteen monuments found under- 
ground in the year 1889, at Ballyknock in the county of Cork, we are 
told that the language of five of them belongs " to the old Irish period, 
say from a.d. 600 to a.d. 900"; while the rest exhibit "a primeval Celtic 
dialect " — a dialect which " bears the same relation to Gaelic — even the 
Gaelic of the ninth century — that Latin does to French." 5 

The inscriptions found in Scotland, we are told, are of comparatively 

1 For references to Druids in Irish Legend, see Rhys' Hibbert Lectures, passim. 

2 Brithemain anglicised Brehons, W. Stokes, Trip. Life. 

3 Caesar, sup. ; compare Senchtts, I. 19, 27, II. vi. Dubhthach was a contemporary of 
St. Patrick— one of his first converts. Trip. Life, p. 282. 

4 Encyclop. Brit., sup., 256, 258. So again we have 'Druids and Poets': Tribes 
of Hy Fiachrach, p, 26, O'Donovan (Irish Archaeological Society). 

5 Whitley Stokes, Academy, Nov., 1S91. One of the Ballyknock names, " Meddu- 
geni," is identified with the Gaulish " Medugenos "; C. I. L., II. 162. 


late date. 1 At any rate, so far as we can judge at present, Ireland would 
seem to have the best claim to be considered the birthplace of Ogham 

Irish Ogham Alphabet. 


a o u 



" Exceedingly little is said by ancient authors about the religion of the 

people of Britain." 4 Of the Gaulish deities, however, we hear something, 

and they were probably very much the same as those of 

e lgion. g r j ta j n . Cge sarj w ho as a pontiff and the author of a book on 

divination might be considered something of an authority on 

Deities, matters of Divinity, thought that he could identify the chief 

Gaulish deity with Mercury ; ' the inventor of all arts ; the 

patron of roads and traffic ; the chief arbiter in matters of money-making 

1 Not so however the stone found at Newton in Aberdeenshire, which Mr. W. Stokes 
seems to refer to the eighth century. 

2 For the learning on this subject see R. R. Brash, Ogham Inscriptions (Dublin, 
1869), and Ogham Inscribed Monuments of the Gaidhill (London, 1879) ; Earl of 
Southesk, Ogham Inscriptions of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1885) ; and again, Whitley 
Stokes, Academy, 4th June, 1S92. 

3 Communicated by the Rev. Canon G. Browne, late Disney Professor of Archceology 
in the University of Cambridge. 

4 Rhys. 


and commerce. 1 After him come Apollo and Mars and Jupiter and 
Minerva. Of these they hold much the same beliefs as other nations do.' 2 
Unfortunately Caesar does not trouble himself to record the names of these 
deities; but the poet Lucan names three: "Teutates"; "Hesus" or 
"Esus"; and "Taranis"; whose altars, he tells us, ran with blood: 3 while 
Ansonius, a native of Bordeaux, tells us of the temple at "Bajocasses" 
(Bayeux), dedicated to " Belenus," whom he identifies with Apollo. 4 

Taking the gods in the order named by Caesar, the Celtic Mercury may 

be fairly identified with the Gaulish Ogmios, described by Lucian, and 

the Irish Ogma ; the inventor of letters, the patron of litera- 

Ogmios, or ture an( ^ persuasive speech. The name Ogmios however has 

not yet been identified on any Gaulish 5 or on any British 

inscription. Lucian depicts this divinity as primarily a Heracles, with the 

power of eloquent speech superadded; a compound of Heracles and 

Hermes. Heracles is generally recognised as a solar god. The epithet 

of ' Sun-faced ' or ' Shining-faced ' given to Ogma in Irish legend helps 

the identification. 7 He was originally a solar god whose special attri 

butes as such became merged in the conception of the Great Civilising 


The Gaulish " Apollo " is placed before us by Caesar simply in the 
character of a repeller of diseases — " Apollinem morbos depellere "; and not 
as a sun-god : but in Britain we find him clearly defined by the inscrip- 
tion " Soli Apollini Aniceto." 8 

The Gaulish Apollo appears to have been known " all over the Celtic 
world," and by various names, of which the most common seem to have 
been Maponos, and Grannos. Maponos we are assured is the same word 

1 " Hunc omnium inventorem artium ferunt, hunc viarum atque itinerum ducem, hunc 
ad quaestus pecunioe mercaturasque habere vim maximam arbitrantur." B. G., VI. ioi. 
An inscription has been found in Yorkshire of the date of 191 of our era, ' To the god 
who invented roads.' Hubner, Corpus Inscriptt. Latt., VIII. No. 271, but the name is 
wanting. Elton, 258. 

2 "De his eandem fere quam reliquoe gentes habent opinionem." Lb. 

3 " Et quibus immitis placatur sanguine diro, 
Teutates, horrensque fens altaribus Hesus, 

Et Taranis Scythicoe non mitior ara Dianae." — Pkarsalia, I. 445. 
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus died a.d. 65. 

4 Ansonius, Professores, No. 4 ; Elton 258. The Ode is addressed to the poet's 
friend Patera, who claimed descent from the Druids who had charge of the temple of 
Belenus. Antonius must have been born in the early part of the 4th century. He lived 
to celebrate the victory of Theodosius over Maximus, a.d. 3S8. 

5 Gaidoz, Esquisse De La Religion des Gaulois, p. 13. 

6 Lucian, a Greek satirist, was probably born about A.D. 120. Smith, Dictionary of 

7 See J. Rhys' Hibbert Lectures, 5-20 : and Lectures on Welsh Philology, 313. The 
name "Ogma" is connected with "Ogam" writing, but the exact relationship of the 
two words is not clear. lb. 

8 C. L Z., VII. No. 543. 


as the old Welsh mapon, now mabon, l boy' or 'male child 1 ] while Grannos 
" is probably to be referred to the same origin as the Sanskrit 

^rannot" verb % har > ' to S low ' burn ' shine ' • • • English gleam" \ the 
name also appearing in the Irish Grainne, originally a dawn- 
goddess, or a moon-goddess. 1 Thus Maponos and Grannos will stand 
respectively for the Bonus Puer, and the Posphoros of a Transylvanian 
inscription: " Deus Bonus Pucr Posphoros Apollo Pythius" 2 As the 
author of light and heat the sun-god naturally became the patron of hot 
springs and healing waters. The springs of Aix-la-chapelle were known 
to the Romans as Aquoe Granni." ;: 

Apollo again has been identified with Bdenusf a name which seems 
connected with the Sanskrit gvalana fire ; and possibly with the solar 
festival of Beltaine, or May day. Anyhow the Celtic Apollo 
from first to last stands out as a sun-god. In Gaul hot 
springs were dedicated to Apollo-Grannus and Apollo-Borvo (whence the 
modern " Bourbon"). 5 The springs at Bath were consecrated to a god- 
dess Sul-Minerva or Sulis-Minerva : she had a temple there, and a college 
of priests, bound to keep up a perpetual fire on her altar. 

The inscriptions to Mars found in Britain are numerous, and he appears 
under many names, such as Mars, Toutates, Corotiacus, Belatucader 
Toutates or Belatucadros, Cocidius, Alator, Loucetius, Camulus, Con- 
dates, Rigisamus. 7 The first of these clearly indentifies him 
with the Teutates of Lucan. Among the names given to the god in Gaul 
we have Segomo, which is traced in Ireland in composition with the word 
Netta or Nia as forming the name Netta-Segamonas (genii.) or Nia 
Camulos Segamain (dal.). 8 Mars Camulus also appears on the Con- 
tinent ; and doubtless gave its name to the capital of the 
Trinovantes Camulodunon, or ' the stronghold of Camulos.' A meaning 
has been suggested for Camulos by taking it in connexion with another 
Gaulish epithet given to Mars, namely Vintius (Gaulish Vintjos) or ' the 
Wind-God.' It is thought that Camulos may be connected " with the old 

1 Hibbert Lectures, 146, 510, etc., and comparing 678. 

2 Id., 21-24. For these names in Britain see Hubner, C. I. Z., VII. Nos. 332, 10S2, 
1345, etc. The anonymous geographer of Ravenna gives " Maponi " as the name of a 
place in Britain, but the site has not been identified ; M. H. B., XXVI. 

3 Rhys, sup., 24, q.v. for other places where the name is found. 

4 See Ansonius, Elton, 258, 280. 5 Rhys, 25. 

6 C. I. L., VII. 38, 39, 40. C. J. Solinus' Polyhist : c. 22, M. II. B., IX. There 
may have been a secondary dedication of the springs at Bath to " Apollo," as an inter- 
esting head of a sun-god in bas-relief may be seen in the Museum there. The hair and 
beard are twisted round the head so as to represent rays or a nimbus. 

7 See C. I. L., VII. passim ; all can be traced through the index. "Marti Cocidio" 
and "Marti Belatucadro" occur several times each. The inscription M[arti] Condat 
is accompanied by a swastika "£, No. 420. 

8 See Rhys' Lectures, ^, 34. The name occurs on Ogham inscriptions and in the 
Book of Fenagh, edited by Prof. Hennessy. 


Saxon himil 2Xi& the German word himmel, heaven or sky." x These two 
names might indicate the steps by which a deity, originally a god of the 
sky, might become the lord of storms, strifes and war. In later Celtic 
Camulos appears as Cumall ' king-warrior ' of Ireland and father of the 
great Finn. 2 Associated with the war-god on the monuments, as for 

instance on one found at Bath, was the goddess " Nemetona." 

She has been identified with "Nemon." the wife according to 
Irish tradition of Net the war-god of the ancient Irish. 3 Another Irish 
war-fury was " Bodb-Catha," a name which certainly looks very like the 
" [CJathubodva " of a Gaulish inscription. 4 

" All the facts bearing on the history of the Gaulish war-god conspire to 

prove that he was once the supreme divinity of the Celtic race." 

The War ^ ut as tne Celts " made progress in the arts of peace 

god . . . the old god associated with the sky was eclipsed 

by the younger gods, the Gaulish Mercury and the Gaulish 
Apollo, just as even before the Wiking period Tyr had been cast into the 
cold shade by the rude glories of Woden, a younger god of many-sided 
character." 5 

Jupiter was worshipped under many names 6 of which only a few have 

as yet been interpreted. One whose etymology seems fairly clear was 

Cernunno Cernenus or in Gaulish Cernunnos^ meaning ' Horny ' or the 

' Horn-God.' On an altar found in Paris we have underneath 
the name Cernunnos a bearded figure with the horns of a stag. The horn 
of course was a solar emblem, symbolical of rays, and many horned 
images, and images accompanied by horn emblems, have been found on 
Gaulish soil. 7 But the wheel as the instrument of rotation and motion 
was also a well-known solar emblem, 8 and therefore Cernunnos ought 
probably to be identified with the nameless wheel-god of the Gaulish 
monuments, corresponding to the original acceptation of Jupiter as 
Diespiter, the Sanskrit Dyaushpiter, the god of light. 9 

Taranis or Taranus has again been styled the Celtic Jupiter ; and 

inscriptions have been found " Jovi Taranuco " and "Deo Taranucno." 

Taranis ^ ms P os ^^ on m tne celestial group there can be no doubt ; 

and with one conception of the classical Jupiter he certainly 
coincides, but not with the original or proper conception, as his name is 

1 Rhys, 33-39. 2 id., 40. 

3 Gaidoz, Esquisse, 10. Rhys, 42. C. I. L., VII., No. 36. 

4 Rhys, 43. 5 Idmj 49> 

6 On British inscriptions Dolichenus is the common one, e.g., C. I. L., VII. 98. 

7 Rhys, 78. Bulletin Epigraphique, I. Ill, 112, and esp. Revue Archcol, 1880, p. 

8 Gaidoz, Etudes, 93-98. Rhys, 55. For the swastika and a wheel associated on 
one altar, see Revue ArcheoL, 1880, vol. xl., p. 17. 

9 Rhys, 109, 116. 


simply the Welsh Taran or Irish Torunn ' Thunder.' ] He carried a long 
hammer as his emblem, and was, like Thor, the Thunder-god/* the god of 
foul weather, whose worship would arise in natural parallelism with that 
of the Sun-god, the god of fine weather. "Jupiter Taran ucus " would 
thus correspond exactly to the Jupiter Fulgur Fulmen of another inscrip- 
tion and the Greek Zeus Kcpawo's.' 5 

But the attributes of the two Joves had a tendency to be blended 
and merged in a broader conception of one Supreme Ruler of the 
heavens, as in the case of the Roman Jupiter. And so on a Gaulish 
monument we find a god with the wheel in one hand and a thunderbolt 
in the other ; i where however the influence of Roman ideas is seen, first 
by the use of the thunderbolt, which was not the proper Gaulish emblem 
for thunder ; and secondly by the nudity of the figure, the proper Gaulish 
divinity being draped. 

But of extant Gaulish monuments the one that seems most clearly to 
indicate the solar character of the national worship is an altar found in 
Paris with carvings on all four sides. On one side are the words "Tarvos 
Trigeranos" 5 with the figure of a bull with three cranes sitting on his 
back ; one on his head, one on his shoulders, and one on his tail. On 
another side we have " Esus," and a figure armed with a 
hatchet; on the third "Jovis," represented with the eagle 
and the thunderbolt ) and on the fourth " Volcanus," with hammer and 
tongs ready for work. 6 

Here the three cranes on the bull, like the three-legged Manx emblem, 
and the Trignetra found on Lycian coins, must symbolise the three 
strides of Vishnu, the three stages in the daily solar course, 
T strWes 6e suru "i se > midday, and sunset. The same idea is expressed on 
other Gaulish monuments by three-headed images and figures 
associated with triple symbols. 7 A sun god, a thunder god, a moon 
goddess, with their proper partners of the other sex, were the starting- 
points of most mythologies. 

To finish with the Celtic Jove, it is thought that in the British Isles 
he may be traced in the person of Nodens, whose shrine has been dis- 

1 Gamett Philolog. : Essays, p. 197. Rhys calls attention to another Irish form of 
the word toirn or tairn, of the feminine gender : he argues that the Taranis of Lucan 
was a female : the comparison with the Scythian Diana supports this view. Perhaps 
Taranus was the male thunderer, and Taranis the female. 

2 Revue Celtique, V. 386 ; VI. 417. Gaidoz, Esquissc, II. For a cut of the hammer 
god see Revue Celtique, I. 5. The hammer is like a long croquet-mallet. 

8 Revue Celtique, V. 383. 

4 See the engraving, Bulletin Epigraphique, I. 57. 

5 Whitley Stokes decides that the Trigeranos is one word and not two, as suggested 
by M. Mowat, Academy, 25th Sept., 1886. 

6 Bulletin Epigraphique, I. 60-68. 

7 A. Bertrand, "Triades Gauloises," Revue Archeol. : 1880. 

3 o SOLAR 

covered within Sydney Park on the Severn, 1 though his name there 

appears to be identified with that of Mars. 2 Of the identity 

Nodens, f Nodens however with the Irish Nuada and the Welsh Nydd 
Nuada, Nydd. ... . , „ 

or Lydd there can be little doubt/ 

Another leading deity, if not the leading deity, traceable in Irish legend 

was Dagda, older Dagodevos, the Great, the Good God, the 

Dagodevos or jorinal king of the Tuatha De Danann. 4 He had a wise 
Dagda. ° 

daughter or daughters of the name of Brig, Brigit, or the 

Gaulish Brigindo, whose memory appears to have been perpetuated in the 

person of the Christian saint, Bridget. 5 Among Uagda's 

august brethren were Nuada of the Silver Hand, Ogma and 

Lug, of whom below. 6 

By all accounts Celtic state-worship was of a gloomy and ferocious 

character. Human sacrifices, and vows of human offerings, 

Sai RUes ary are described as common. The doctrine of atonement by 

blood, we are told, was inculcated in its crudest form. 7 Caesar 

also speaks of huge Molochs of wicker work in which whole hecatombs 

of living men were burnt to death. 8 Scepticism on this point is dispelled 

by the fact that it appears from writings of much later date that human 

sacrifice was thought to ensure the stability of a building. 9 

In the sun's yearly course four points invite special attention ; namely, 

the winter and summer solstices, when he pauses to turn in his career, 

and the spring and autumn equinoxes, these marking roughly 

Feasts. tne beginning and end of summer and winter. All four points 

have been honoured by mankind with special observance time 

out of mind. In the calendar of later pagan Rome the 25th December 

as a special solar day was appointed for the feast of Mithra, the Asiatic 

Sol Invictus. When the Christian Church began to arrange its calendar, 

Mithra's day was chosen for the Nativity of Christ, the new Sun of Right- 

1 The name appears as Nudens, Nodens, and Nodons, C. I. L., VII. 138, 139, 140. 
- The identification is not certain, as the inscriptions give only " D. M. Nodonti," 
and " Deo Nudente M dedit." 

3 Rhys, 125, etc. 

4 Id., 75, 147, 154. The writer identifies Dagda with Chronos or Saturn as a sort 
of superannuated god, the Keeper of Elysium, 149, 152, 644. 

5 Id., 75, 388. For the perpetual fires of St. Bridget and her position generally in 
the 1 2th century, see Giraldus Cambrensis, V. 120 (Rolls Series), and Historia Ponti- 
ficalis, Per/3, XX. 518, 539. 

6 Rhys, 579. 

7 " Pro vita hominis nisi hominis vita reddatur non posse aliter Deorum immortalium 
numen placari arbitrantur." Coesar, E.G., VI. c. 16. 

8 Ibid. 

9 For Wales, see the legend in Nenuius, c. 44, M.H.B. For Ireland, see Cormack's 
Glossary, by Whitley Stokes, p. 63 (Irish Archaeological Society). "The same belief 
is still entertained in India." For burying prisoners alive at the funeral of a king, see 
O'Curry, Lectures on Manners of Ancient Irish, II. ccexx. Sullivan, cited Elton, 272. 


eousness. 1 Midwinter's day having been fixed for the birthday of Jesus, 
Midsummer's day was appointed for that of the Baptist, who was born six 
months earlier.- 

By the Celts the equinoctial points appear to have been more attended 
to than the solstices, the 1st May and the 31st October being their great 
solar days. By the Gael these days were respectively named "Bealltaine" 
or "Beltane," and "Samhuin" or "Samhain." The latter word means 
"Summer's end" (literally Summer's rest or Summer's death)? The ety- 
mology and meaning of Beltane are lost.' 4 Both days were celebrated 
with bonfires and other observances. The most distinctive rite performed 

on these occasions was the kindling of virgin fire by the 
Fires. rubbing of sticks. The process, originally performed by 

twirling a stick between the palms of the hands with its point 
pressed against another piece of wood, was in time facilitated by the 
mechanical appliance of a wheel revolving on its axle ; hence the wheel 
became doubly a solar emblem. 5 The fire so obtained was held sacred ; 
the village hearths were annually rekindled from it; G in the North of 
Scotland it was known in recent times as "forced-fire" or "will-fire" 
(German Noth-feuer) ; cattle were passed through it to guard them from 
murrain. 7 An instance of this practice is recorded in Perthshire within 
this century. 8 " Pennant has left us a description of a rural sacrifice 
which in his time was performed on the 1st of May in many Highland 
villages " ; while Martin in the Hebrides saw a flaming brand carried three 
times daily round a new-born babe until it was christened. 9 So recently 
were these observances part of the life of the people ; while the names of 
the Celtic deities can hardly be recovered by scientific research. 

One other Celtic festival ought perhaps to be noticed, namely their 
midsummer festival held on the 1st of August and dedicated to the god 

Lugos, Irish Lug, Welsh Llew or Lieu, a deity who might 

almost be considered the first of Celtic gods. In Ireland the 
feast was called after him "Lugnassad" while in the Isle of Man the 1st 
August is still known as "Lhuanys" apparently another form of Lugnassad. 
In Wales the day was known as " Gwyl Awst," "August Feast," whence the 

1 Compare the words of St. Patrick, who clearly found sun-worship prevalent in 
Ireland: " Nam sol iste quern videmus . . . nunquam regnabit . . . et omnes 
qui adorant eum in penam miseri male devenient. Nos autem qui credimus et adoramus 
solem verum Jesum Christum," etc. Trip. Life, 374. 

2 Luke i. 26. H. Gaidoz, Etudes de Mythologie Gauloisc, p. 15. 

3 Cormack's Glossary, by Whitley Stokes, 19. 

4 Murray, New English Dictionary, sub voce. 

5 In the Runic Calendar Christmas Day was marked by a wheel as a solar emblem. 
Gaidoz, sup., 9. 

6 Rev. Celtique, IV. 194. Elton, 263. 

7 Elton, 293, citing Martin, Description of Western Islands, p. 113. 

8 Mirror, 24 June, 1826, cited Kemble, Saxons, I. 360. 

9 Elton, 293, 294, citing Pennant, Tour in Scotland, 1772, p. 94, and Martin, sup. 


mediaeval name for the ist August " Gula Angusti" or " Goule d'Aoilt." 
Within the limits of ancient Gaul three cities still attest the fame of Lugos : 
Lyons, Leyden and Laon, each originally a Lugdunum, properly Lugodu- 
num, ' Lugos' Fort ' or ' Lugos' Town.' It is worthy of note that at Lyons 
the ist August was a day of great observance. 1 

"The average villager one meets in the Panjab and Northern India is 

at heart neither a Muhammadan, nor a Hindu, nor a Sikh, nor of any 

other religion as such is understood by its orthodox, or to 

iMiTn 6 s P ea k more correctly, authorised exponents ; but his religion is 
a confused unthinking worship of things held to be holy, 
whether men or places, in fact Hagiolatry." 2 So doubtless with the Celts ; 
regard for omens of luck or ill-luck ; for fairies and banshees ; dwarfs and 
elves; "cursing-stones" and "wishing-wells" made up the bulk of the prac- 
tical religion of the people. 3 Every locality and every river, perhaps every 
grove and fountain had its tutelary divinity. 4 All the phenomena, all the 
forces of Nature were deified and worshipped. Surrounded by facts and 
mysteries that called for explanation, conscious of the narrow limits within 
which his knowledge of things was restricted, man fell back upon direct 
supernatural agency to account for every thing that he could not under- 

Much has been made of the Celtic veneration for the mistletoe, and 

especially for mistletoe grown on the oak. To many it is the central point 

in Druidism. Our knowledge of the subject, however, is really 

M' "tiptoe derived fr° m one man > an d one man only, the elder Pliny. He 

describes at length the ceremonies with which the plant was 

picked to ensure its efficacy as a charm against barrenness, and an antidote 

to poison. A Druid, clad in priestly white, cut the precious shoot with a 

golden knife and received it on a spotless cloth : a white bull was then 

sacrificed. 5 The belief in the virtues of the mistletoe was doubtless due 

to its strange parasitic growth ; and the special regard for the oak -grown 

mistletoe, like that for the four-leaved shamrock, was due to its extreme 

rarity. We are told that in Brittany to this day a mistletoe bough is hung 

1 See Rhys, 390-431. We may also compare "Lugotorix" the name of a noble 
Briton who led the attack on Caesar's ships B.C. 54. Cffisar, B. G., V. c. 22. 

2 R. C. Temple, Legends of Panjtib. 

3 Compare the Laws of Cnut, forbidding heathen practices, i.e. worship of idols, sun 
or moon, fire or water, springs, stones or trees of the forest. No deity is named. 
"Secular Dooms," II. c. 5; Schmid, Gesetze. 

4 Elton, 283-285, 292. Rhys' C. B., 67. Thus the Roman wall {vallum, prcetcntura) 
had its genius. Hiibner, C. I. L., VII. Nos. 634, 886, Britannia and Brigantia are 
deified, Nos. 203, 875 ; the "Matres Campestres," 510, 1084, are the Irish Side (whence 
Glen Shee in Scotland) and the " Ladies " of our Lady- Wells and the Loge-les- Dames 
the holy tree round which Joan of Arc danced as a child. See also W. Stokes, Tripar- 
tite Life of St. Patrick, I. clviii. 

5 Hist. Nat., XVI. 195. The line attributed to Ovid, "Ad viscum Druids Druidae 
cantare solebant" is pronounced spurious. 


over the stable door for luck. But before specially connecting this super- 
stition with Celtic religion, Pliny might have called to mind how the 
Cumnean Sybill had directed yEneas to gather mistletoe from an oak as the 
charm wherewith to open the gates of the Nether World. 1 In modern 
times we are told that the reverence for the plant has left more enduring 
traces on Teutonic soil than in France, and our own Christmas mistletoe 
might be appealed to as evidence of the fact.- 

Of the personal relics that have come down to us from the men of early 
Britain the most interesting as indications of their civilization and wealth are 
their coins, of which many specimens have been found, the most important 
being their gold coins. These were modelled after coins apparently derived 
from Marseilles ; these again being copied from the gold stater of Philip II. 

of Macedon, a fine coin weighing about 133 grains and exhibit- 
Tritons. * m S a laureated head on one side, and on the other a charioteer 

in a biga. 3 The first British imitations bear some resemblance 
to the original; the later copies wander further and further away from the 
track till all resemblance is lost. The coins prior to the Roman invasion 
bear no inscriptions. The loss of weight and general degradation of type 
traceable between the earliest and the latest of these uninscribed coins are 
held by Sir John Evans to imply a lapse of about 150 years. 4. Gold 
currency therefore might be supposed to have been introduced into Britain 

about 200 years b.c. According to the same authority the 

coinage first appeared in Kent, thence spreading Northwards 
and Westwards to the petty kingdoms of the south coast. But he doubts 
if up to Caesar's time the use of money had made its way as far as 
Gloucestershire or the northern parts of Wilts and Somerset. 5 This 
suggests that the gold currency was limited to the Belgic kingdoms. 
With reference to this subject it may not be out of place to point out 
that Saxon England practically never had a gold coinage, and that even 
Norman England never saw a gold coin struck till the year J257. G 

But the British currency was not limited to gold which might be con- 
sidered a coinage de luxe, more intended for the glorification of the king 
Silver wno i ssue d ft tnan t0 supply an actual business want. For 
Copper, and daily needs we find in circulation uninscribed pieces of silver, 

copper and brass, the earliest of these apparently coinciding 

1 Vergil, yEneid, VI. 

2 See H. Gaidoz, La Religion Gauloisc et Le Gul de Chcnc. 

3 This stater was not struck till after the year 356 B.C., when Philip acquired the 
valuable gold mines of Crenides or Philippi ; J. Evans, Coins of the Ancient Britons, 
p. 24. 

4 Coins of Ancient Britons, pp. 25-32. 

5 Id., 37, 41. 

6 Ruding, Annals of the Mint, I. 186. A few gold pennies, however, of Archbishop 
Wigmund of York (A.D., 837) and some of yEthelred II. and Eadward the Confessor 
have been found. C. Oman, Academy, 10 August, 1895. 

R. H. D 



with the latest of the uninscribed gold coins. 1 Caesar also mentions rings 
or bars of iron as being used for small money. 2 After his time we shall 
find the British currency making a fresh start. 

Very striking as evidences of the life and work of bygone ages are the 
Celtic earthworks of our southern counties. The sacred circles of 
Earthworks Stonehenge and Avebury are famous. Less known, but very 
and remarkable are the concentric ramparts and ditches to be 
' seen among other places at Holwood (Kent), Reigate, St. 
George's Hill (Surrey), St. Katherine's Hill (Winchester), Old Sarum, Yarn- 
bury (near Steeple Lawford), Ogbury, Scratchbury (near Warminster, three 
several triple enclosures), Amesbury, Barbury, and Liddington (both near 
Swindon). 3 The broken fragments also of lines of earthworks formerly 
continuous, the Wansdikes and Grinsdikes of the same districts, 4 tell in like 
manner of sanguinary struggles between races battling for the possession of 
the soil. Three epochs might be mentioned with which these relics might 
be connected, namely, the struggles of the Belgic settlers with the earlier 
inhabitants : or those of the Belgic Britons with the Romans ; or again, 
those of the Romanized Britons with the Anglo-Saxons. Some, 
however, of the fortifications seem to point rather to intertribal warfare. 
They also bear witness to a population greatly in excess of that to be 
found in the same districts at the present day. 

The fortifications of the Britons exhibit a remarkable uniformity of type 
throughout our island. All affect elevated sites, not always suitable for 
Forts ordinary habitation, but very defensible. Their ground plan 
is either oval or circular, with double and triple rows of 
ramparts and ditches. The Roman camp is usually rectangular, at any 
rate enclosed by straight lines, with rounded corners, the latter a very 
noticeable feature. The Romans again seldom or never placed their 
camps on inconvenient heights, but in comfortable situations, with 
water within easy reach, usually, in fact, on a river bank. In North 
Britain we sometimes find the innermost rampart of a fort built of stones 
which appear to have been vitrified by the action of fire. 5 The appear- 
ances do not suggest that these walls have been raised to any great height. 
As a conjecture we suggest that the vitrification may have been a rude 
mode of cementing a foundation course or plinth, in lieu of " dowelled " 
masonry, to support a stockade. In Ireland lake-dwellings, " island- 
stockades " were in vogue. These crannoges, as they were called, were 

1 Evans, sup., 99, 116. 2 B. G., V. 12. 

3 The last six places are all in Wilts. The Amesbury work is of unusual shape, being 
triangular. It also has a mound-fort in the centre, which must be referred to Anglo- 
Danish times, but the outer works seem Celtic. 

4 For the so-called Belgic Ditches see Dr. Guest, ArchaoL Instil., Salisbury vol., p. 28. 
As at Craig Phadrick, near Inverness ; at Dunsinane, near Coupar- Angus ; on Barry 

Hill, near Alyth, etc. Vitrified forts have also been found in France. 




found very troublesome by the English in warfare as late as the time of 
Elizabeth. In these bronze and neolithic articles have been found 
associated with Tudor and Stuart relics. 1 

The metallic implements of early date that 
have been found in Britain include bronze celts 
or axe-heads of many patterns, with a few iron 

ones; bronze sickles, knives, dag- 
impSments. gers, spear-heads, and swords ; the 

latter mostly leaf-shaped, but some- 
times shaped like a spit or rapier. Thirty inches 
is given as the maximum length of these last. 2 
Iron swords of British make have also been 
found in various parts of Great Britain and 
Ireland ; but in less numbers than those of 
bronze; partly because iron perishes more 

readily than bronze ; partly perhaps 

because the practice of burying 
weapons with the dead may have gone out of 
fashion when the use of iron became general. 
The iron swords appear to have been mostly 
sheathed with bronze scabbards, 3 iron scab- 
bards being less common. The blades of the 
iron swords varied from i ft. 8 in. to 3 ft. 6 in. 
in length ; the ends being less pointed than 
those of the bronze swords that proceeded 
them, but sharper than those of the Teutonic 
swords of later days. Sir. A. W. Franks would 
ascribe the introduction of these swords to 
about the same date as that of the gold coin- 
age, namely, 200 B.C. or thereabouts. After the 
Claudian Conquests 4 these weapons again were 
driven out by "the shorter and more effective 
Roman sword." 5 That bronze implements in 
the more backward districts remained in use 
till a much later period is proved by the fact 
that bronze celts have been found in Cornwall 


(From Evans' Ancient Bronze Implc* 


1 W. G. Wood Martin, Irish Lake Dwellings. 

2 See Sir J. Evans, Ancient Bronze Implements, passim ; also the specimens in the 
British Museum, the Dublin Museum, and the Meyer collection at Manchester. 

3 See a specimen in the Late-Celtic collection in the British Museum. 

4 a.d. 43-54- 

5 Archczolog., XLV. 251-265. The swords of the Picts of the time of Agricola must 
have been of the longer type. Tacitus speaks of them as " enormes gladios . . . 
sine mucrone." Agricola, c. 36. 


associated with coins of Constantius Chlorus. 1 In Ireland bronze appears 
to have been still in use in late Christian times ; 2 so probably in Scotland. 
Caesar speaks of the Britons as importing their bronze. 3 That sounds 
odd, as the tin, if not both the copper and the tin, of which bronze was 
made were found in Britain ; while moulds for casting bronze celts have 
also been found in Britain. Perhaps the remark should be understood as 
applying to manufactured bronze of a higher character, many bronze 
articles of foreign type having been found in Southern Britain. 4 Again 
Caesar makes mention of mines of iron on the South coast. 5 These must 
have been the mines of the Weald of Kent and Sussex, " where the last 
forge was only blown out in the year 182 5."° 

Among the military appliances of the Britons their war chariots {esseda 
covini) cruelly armed with scythes must not be overlooked. 7 Their size 

Chariots mSi ^ ^ e m ^ erre0 ^ fr° m tnat °f tneir wheels, of which one has 
been found, and it measures just 30 inches in diameter. 8 
They were probably built of wickerwork, open in front and closed 
behind, in that respect differing from the Greek and Roman chariots 
which were closed in front and open behind. Caesar praises the efficiency 
of the British chariot, with which the warrior could at will act as a horse- 
soldier or a foot-soldier, like the original Dragoon of modern times. 
The chariot-men would begin by skirmishing round the enemy's position, 
throwing their spears and endeavouring to break his ranks. If they got 
in among squadrons of cavalry the warriors would jump out and fight on 
foot, 9 the charioteers meanwhile falling back, ready to succour their 
masters in case of need. ' Thus they exhibit in battle the mobility of 
cavalry with the steadiness of infantry.' 10 Their driving was very skilful, 
and they could pull up and turn in a moment when going downhill at 
full speed. In case of need they could make their way along the pole to 
the horses' heads and so back to the car. 11 

The shield in common use was a round target, plated with bronze, with 
a central boss ; to all intents and purposes the identical shield in use in 
the Scottish Highlands down to the year 1745. 13 

I Evans' Ancient Bronze Implements, 115. 2 Encyclop. Britannica, " Ireland, " p. 256. 

3 " CEre utuntur importato," B.G., V. c. 12. 

4 J. Evans, Ancient Bronze, 419, 483. 5 B. G, V. c. 14. 

G Boyd Dawkins, Transactions of International Congress of Pre-hist. ArchaoL, 1868, 
p. 188, cited Rhys. C. B., 21. 

7 "Covinos vocant quorum falcatis axibus utuntur," Pomp. Mela., III. 6. (flor. circa 
A.D. 45). Essedum is Caesar's word for the chariot. 

8 Arc/iaol.,XXl. 42. 

" Cum se inter equitum turmas insinuaverint" B. G., IV. c. 33. 

10 " Ita mobilitatem equitum stabilitatem peditum in prseliis praestant." Id. 

II Coesar, sup. 

12 Evans, Ancient Bronze Implements', conf. Tacitus, Agricolat., 36," brevibus cetris." 
For an engraving of a British shield made of bronze and 14 inches in diameter, see 
Archceologia, XXVII. pi. 22. 


Flint arrow-heads have been found in great abundance, especially in the 
Northern districts, but none of bronze or iron. This suggests that stone 
must have remained in use for arrow-heads, unless we suppose the bow 
Flint Arrow- and arrow to have been abandoned, as perhaps may have 

Heads. ^ een trie case j n trie districts occupied by the Romans. 

British pottery, as found in their graves, is usually of a very rude sort, 
hand-made, of coarse clay, imperfectly baked, and only ornamented with 

Pott finger marks and nail scratches. But a British cemetery at 

Aylesford in Kent has yielded specimens of wheel-made pottery 
of a superior kind, coated with black lustrous pigment, and exhibiting an 
undoubted elegance of form. Encircling groins or cordons are a special 
ornament. Along with these was found a wooden tankard hooped and 
handled with bronze of artistic design ; also a fine wooden pail, hooped 
with flat bands of bronze : the uppermost band being ornamented with 
repousse scrolls of considerable merit. But in the cinerary urns of the 
same cemetery flint flakes are found associated with implements of bronze 
and iron. The approximate date of these urns seems fixed by the presence 
of two gold coins, not inscribed, but of a type found on both sides of the 
Channel. 1 The superior pottery, therefore, and the artistic bronze can 
only be ascribed, like the gold coinage, to the Belgic tribes of the South 

With respect to the native coinage we may here point out that a numis- 
matic map of Britain drawn up by Sir John Evans 2 shows that, practically, 
all the " finds " of British coins yet made fall within a line drawn from 
Peterborough to Worcester, and thence southwards to Dorchester. This 
would include all coins struck down to the time of the extinction of native 
rule within those districts, say down to the year 50 of our era. 

Again with respect to interment of the dead it may be useful to state 
that it is believed that the practice of cremation was introduced among the 
Celtic nations about the same time as the use of iron ; say B.C. 
200-100 ; and that it was derived from Illyro-Italic tribes 
settled on the Eastern Alps. The Celts are said to have been slow as 
compared with the Germans to adopt the practice. Thus, in the cemetery 
at Aylesford already referred to, skeletons of bodies buried entire are found 
in proximity to the cinerary urns. The skeletons so found must have 

Bodie in ^ een ^ urie< ^ m a tucked-up attitude, with the knees drawn up 
Tucked-up towards the chin ; the usual attitude of skeletons found in 

Attitudes. pi ct i s h g ra ves in Scotland. 3 Again in the great necropolis of 
which Stonehenge might be regarded as the mortuary chapel, the numerous 
mounds contain remains, some cremated, some buried at full length, and 

1 See the article by Mr. A. J. Evans, Archaologia, vol. lii. p. 315, etc., and Plates 
and the objects themselves in the British Museum. 

2 Supplement to Coins of Ancient Britons. 

3 A. J. Evans, Academy, 21 Dec, 1889 ; and again Archccologia, vol. lii. p. 323. 


some tucked-up. 1 With regard to this last position we have the suggestion 
that it may have been connected with funerals conducted on horseback, 
the bodies being doubled up for convenience of transport on pack-saddles, 
when taken to distant places of burial. 

Strabo describes the Britons as being taller than ' the Celts,' i.e. the 

Gauls, and darker haired. 2 The exports from the island included corn, 

cattle, gold, iron, skins, slaves and hounds ; the latter being 

import!? use d m war as we U as m tne chase. In return the Britons 

took salt, glass, earthenware, bronze (manufactured bronze ?), 

beads, and trinkets. 

Great Britain is spoken of as a very populous country, and one thickly 
studded with habitations. 3 History and archaeology are agreed on this 
point. But Celtic inability to combine neutralised all the advantages of 
numbers. No evidence of any federal organization has been discovered ; 
the want of it helped the Romans in their conquest of Britain 4 just as it 
helped the English in their conquests in Ireland. 

1 See Hoar's Wiltshii-e, I. 52. These facts suggest a great antiquity for Stonehenge, if 
it witnessed successive periods of Celtic custom with regard to burial. 

2 " ^caov ^avdoTpixes," IV. 278. 

3 " Hominum est infinita multitudo creberrimaque redificia." Caes., B. C, V. c. 12. 

4 " Nee aliud adversus validissimas gentes pro nobis utilius quam quod in commune 
non consulunt . . . Rarus duabus tribusve civitatibus ad propulsandum commune 
periculum conventus." Tacitus, Agricola, c. 12. 


B.C. 58-54 

THE first attack of the Romans on Britain was undertaken in the 
summer of the year 55 b.c. 
Within the space of the previous four years, that is to say since the early 
spring of the year 58 B.C., Caius Julius Caesar had not only over-run and 
subjugated Gaul, but also defeated and expelled rival powers 
Gava. m competing with Rome for the possession of a land no longer 
able to govern or defend itself. Thus he had driven back a 
mass immigration of the Helvetii, who, yielding to pressure from the 
Germanic tribes on the North and East, had crossed the Jura in quest 
of a home in Western Gaul. He had expelled Ariovistus, a German 
leader settled on the left bank of the Rhine, in Upper Alsace. He had 
repelled the formidable incursion of the Usipetes and Tenchtheri across 
the lower Rhine ; and had checked threatening demonstrations on the 
middle Rhine by taking his forces across the river into the territory of 

the Ubii, to camp defiantly for eighteen days on Teutonic soil. 
^eR&Le* These operations concluded, Caesar led his forces to the coast 
of the Morini, i.e., the district adjacent to Calais and Boulogne. 
The irruption of the Usipetes and Tenchtheri (b.c. 55) had apparently 
taken him by surprise, and thereby delayed the intended expedition across 
the Channel. At any rate it is clear that the plan of invading Britain 
had been conceived for some time ; and considerable preparation made 

Caesar's motives were probably mixed : " the romance of a brilliant 

adventure " was probably one ; but the undertaking was altogether in 

Policy harmony with Caesar's policy which was to forestal danger, and 

towards keep up his prestige by striking boldly at any quarter from 

whence trouble might possibly arise. If the Britons had not 

1 The compilers of Napoleon III.'s Histoire de Jules Cesar, place the pile-bridge 
thrown across the Rhine by Cresar on this occasion at Bonn, II. 143. Mommsen 
would place it between Coblentz and Andemach : History of Rome, Translation by 
Dickson, IV. 256. Both works agree that the Ubii were established between the Lahn 
and the Sieg. For the events of the years 58-55 B.C. see Caesar's own narrative, De 
Bcllo Gallico, I., II., III., and IV. capp. 1-15. 



lent any very material help to their cousins in the Armorican war of 
the previous year they must certainly have sympathised with them, and 
their close relations with the Belgae, the most warlike and patriotic of 
the Gauls, laid them open to especial suspicion. Britain might easily 
become an asylum for fugitives, and a basis for hostile action against 
the Roman dominion in Gaul. Thus the crossing of the Channel, 
like that of the Rhine, was a defensive operation conducted by offensive 
means. 1 

The hostilities on the Rhine had taken up too much of the summer 
of the year 55 B.C. to leave time for effecting conquests in Britain, but 
Caesar thought that there might still be time enough to effect a recon- 
naissance to pave the way for future operations. Accordingly while shipping 
was being gathered he endeavoured to pick up information about Britain 
and the Britons. But the merchants who were brought before him told 
him as little as they could, professing ignorance of all but the south coast 
and its harbours. On the other hand reports of Caesar's intentions were 
N promptly transmitted to the Britons, who lost no time in 

sending envoys to offer hostages and promise submission. 
Caesar applauded these wise dispositions on their part ; made liberal 
promises to the ambassadors ; and sent them back with Commios, a 
Belgic Gaul of extensive influence both on the Continent and in the Island, 
to cultivate a Roman party in Britain. Finally Caius Volusenus was sent 
in a war galley to survey the coast and report on a landing place. At the 
end of five days he returned without having been able to set foot on shore, 
so thoroughly were the Britons on the alert. 2 

The fleet collected for the occasion included galleys built by Caesar for 

the war of the previous year against the Veneti of the Atlantic seaboard. 

Eight sailing vessels (naves onerarice were assembled in one 

r fo?War° nS nar bour, as transport for two legions. The war-galleys or 

triremes, (naves tonga) propelled by oars, were assigned to 

the commissariat and staff (quastori legatis prcefectisque) ; while another 

fleet of eighteen ships of burden was detained by foul winds in a harbour 

eight Roman miles 'higher up,' 3 that is to say eight miles to the eastward. 

The data furnished by Caesar seem to identify the principal harbour, to 

which he gives the name of Portus Itiusf with Boulogne ; and the lesser 

harbour ' higher up ' with that of Ambleteuse. 5 

1 Mommsen. 

2 Cresar, de Bello Gallico, IV., capp., 20, 21. Cassar made Commios king of the 

3 Id. 22, 23, 28: "Superiore portu." That by " superior " he meant an easterly 
direction is proved by his use of " inferior" as synonymous with westerly ; "ad inferi- 
orem partem insuloe qua? est propius solis occasum," c. 28. 

4 B. G, V. c. 2. So too Strabo. Mon. Hist. Brit., p. vi. 

5 Boulogne, under the later name of Gesoriacum, was clearly a harbour of importance 

i.e. 55J THE CROSSING 4' 

A favourable opportunity for crossing having offered itself, Ccesar loosed 

* about the third watch ' ; 1 i.e., soon after midnight, the cavalry being sent 

m . to the further harbour with orders to embark there. Astro- 
Fleets. . , 
nomical calculations based on Caesar s statements as to the 

moon and the seasons fix the night as one of those falling between the 

24th and the 27th days of August. 2 

The legions were the 7th -and the 10th. According to accepted 

_ estimates two legions at full strength would make up 

The Army. 6 , . „ ° . 

10,000 or 12,000 regular infantry. But we may question 

if legions after an arduous summer of fighting and campaigning could 
be at their full strength. Caesar himself on another occasion speaks 
of two legions as barely making up 7,000 men. 3 A writer of the 
fourth century refers to Caesar's legions in Gaul as having averaged 
4,000 men : * 8,000 ought therefore to be a liberal estimate for the pre- 
sent occasion. The cavalry for whom the eighteen ships were prepared 
have been estimated at 450 men ; 5 but they never crossed the Channel. 

About the fourth hour, i.e. ten o'clock in the morning, Caesar with 

the leading vessels found himself off the harbour for which his pilots were 

The Crossing- ma ^ m g- The port is described as a narrow inlet running in 

between heights, the latter crowded with armed men, whose 

missiles entirely commanded both harbour and beach. 

Here we cannot fail to recognise Dover, especially when we are told 

in Roman times ; more so than Wissant or Calais. The distance from Boulogne to 
Ambleteuse, walking along the cliffs is just eight Roman miles ; Ambleteuse could 
hardly have been the principal port ; and the distance from thence to Wissant would be 
more than nine Roman miles. By many Portus Itius has been identified with Wissant 
(see C. H. Pearson, History of England, I. 25), in which case the upper harbour would 
have to be formed at Sangatte or Calais. But the distance from Wissant to Sangatte 
is six miles, to Calais eleven miles. Again the length of the crossing given by Caesar 
from Portus Itius, about thirty Roman miles, or 27J English miles, agrees better with 
the distance from Boulogne to Dover than with the distances from Wissant either to 
Dover or Deal. Lastly the supposed Roman fortifications at Wissant are a delusion, 
while the site of the camp of Labienus of the following summer is still marked out 
by the square ramparts of the Upper Town of Boulogne. See Hist. Jules Cesar, II. 
166-171. T. Lewin, Invasion of Britain by Julius Casar, 18-21. Cape Grinez seems 
to be called "Ikiov &Kpov by Ptolemy ; perhaps Portus Itius ought to be rendered the 
* Itian harbour ' ; Itium was an old name for the coast of the Morini ; the Gaelic 
name for the Channel being muir-rt-Icht, as already mentioned. 

1 "Tertia fere vigilia solvit." 

2 24-25 August, Histoire de J. Cesar ; II. 156, 174. Lewin, sup., p. 27. See also 

3 B. G., V. c. 49. The 13th legion which Cassar had at Ariminum at the outbreak of 
the civil war (Caesar, de Bello Civili, I. 7) apparently mustered 5,000 men. Pint. Cccs., 
32 ; Pomp. , 60. 

4 Sextus Rufus Festus, M. H. B., lxxi. 

5 Hist de Cesar., II. 156. The writers estimate the total of the legions at 10,000 men ; 
Professor Airy and Mr. Lewin estimate it at 8,000 or 8,400 men. 

42 LANDING AT DEAL [b.c. 55 

that in those days the harbour ran much farther in than it does at present, 
and that in fact it covered great part of the existing town. 1 

Caesar prudently refused to enter such a trap, and brought his squadron 
to an anchor till the rest of the fleet had come up. ' At the ninth hour ' 
(3 ^ 3-3° P- m -> having got wind and tide to suit, he weighed, and, making 

a farther advance 2 of seven miles along the coast, brought up 
Dea? °ff ' a smooth and open shore ; 3 as we may suppose, between 

Walmer and Deal. 4 "Even here it was not easy to land," 
the natives having followed Caesar's movements step by step, chariots and 
horsemen leading the way. The transports drew too much water to be 
run ashore, and the legionaries hesitated to wade in " under fire " to attack 
an enemy standing above them on dry land. Caesar sent the lighter row- 
ing galleys inshore to hurl missiles on the enemy's flanks ; then the Stand- 
ard-Bearer of the Tenth Legion set an example by plunging into the sea 
with his Eagle ; the men, ashamed to be left behind, followed him ; small 
boats were also brought into use. Inch by inch the Romans fought their 
way to shallow water, and then, getting into formation, carried the beach 
with a rush. Pursuit was out of the question, the Romans being destitute 
of cavalry. 

Disconcerted by this check, the Britons fell back on diplomacy. They 
released Commios, who had been imprisoned as a spy, and gave hostages 
for peace. Caesar had the assurance, as he himself informs us, to deliver 
to the Britons a suitable rebuke for their unprovoked and treacherous 
attack upon him. On the fourth day, however, their spirit of resistance 
revived when they saw the cavalry-transports dispersed and driven off 

1 See Hlstoire dej. Cesar, II. 157, and Atlas, plate 16. The site of old St. Martin's 
church appears to mark one side of the harbour of Caesar's time. Almost all writers 
agree that Dover was the place to which Caesar first came. 

2 ' ' Progressus " : the word distinctly implies a continued advance in one direction 
and not a change of direction. According to astronomical tables the tide ought to have 
turned West at 3 p.m. on the 27th August. Lewin therefore contends that Caesar 
turned with it, and landed at Lympne or Limne near Hythe, supposed at that time to 
have been at the head of an inlet (pp. 35-44). But changes in the configuration of the 
coast-lines and sea-bed might well account for alterations in the times of the tides. If 
the Goodwin Sands had been joined to the mainland, even by a mere spit of sand, the 
tide at Dover would have begun by flowing North. Dr. Cardwell points out even now 
that the tides at Dover are anomalous ; and that the inshore tide differs materially from 
the mid-channel tide, which is the tide of the astronomical tables. Archxol. Cantiana, 
III. 14-17. See also Guest, Arc hceological Journal, XXI. 239; Pearson, I. 25. The 
compilers of the Histoire dej. Cesar get over the difficulty by suggesting that he sailed on 
the 25th August, six days before the full moon, and not four days before it, as he seems 
to say, II. 174, etc. Caesar might speak of the full moon in a loose way so as to include 
a day or two before the climax. Apart from the question of the tide everything falls in 
with Deal. 

3 " Aperto ac piano littore,"i?. G., IV. cap. 23. 

4 Dion Cassius understood that Caesar after leaving Dover doubled a promontory, 
that would just be the South Foreland. 

B.C. 54] RETURN TO GA UL 43 

by a sudden gale from the East. At night came a full moon, and the 
high tide and surf between them did considerable damage to 
the Roman shipping, of which part was at anchor, part hauled 
up on the beach. 1 

Caesar now had enough to do to refit his fleet, and get in daily supplies 
without attempting any further advance. The foraging, however, was 
brought to an abrupt conclusion by a sudden attack made by the Britons 
on the men of the 7th Legion while busy reaping corn. Caesar succeeded 
in rescuing his men ; but from that day he was practically beleaguered in 
his camp. A storming assault on his entrenchments, however, was repelled 
with ease. 

The equinoctical season drawing near, Caesar judged that it was time 

to get away from Britain ; and, the fleet having been made fit 

Return to , fe '. - . .-,'..,. -,, .. 

Gaul. f° r sea, on the first fine night embarked his men, and brought 

them back in safety to the Continent. 2 
The expedition was a distinct failure, but the Senate, " estimating the 
attempt by its boldness rather than by its success," ordered a thanksgiving 
of twenty days. 3 

Caesar himself was so little satisfied with the result that he gave imme- 
diate orders for the preparation of an armament for the following spring. 
He ordered modifications in the build of the vessels, directing 
parations. tnem t0 be constructed with a lower freeboard, to facilitate 
loading and unloading ; and with a broader and flatter floor, 
for the transport of horses ; 4 thus in fact making them barges rather than 
ships. He also directed them to be fitted with oars. The soldiers were 
employed on this work during the winter, and with such success that by 
the summer (54 B.C.) 600 transports of the new type were turned out be- 
sides 28 triremes. 5 The whole were ordered to " Portus Itius" which had 
been found so convenient a starting point in the previous summer. All 
reached the port in safety, except forty vessels built in the district of the 
Meldi {i.e. Meaux on the Marne), and these never left the Seine. 

The troops under Caesar's command now numbered eight legions and 

4,000 Gaulish horse ; the latter including leading natives from every part of 

Tne Forces tne countr y> hostages in all but the name. Three legions and 

half the cavalry were assigned to Titus Labienus, who was to 

1 B. G., IV. 28, 29. Eight vessels had eventually to be broken up. The moon 
reached the full at 3 a.m. on the 31st August. Histoire de Cesar, II. 175. But Caesar 
may not have written with astronomical precision. 

2 B. G, IV. 30-36. The compilers of the Histoire de Cesar calculate that he prob- 
ably returned to Gaul about the 12th Sept., II. 180. For a summary of the expedition 
compiled some 300 years later see Dion Cassius, XXXIX. s. 50, ed. 1750, extracted 
M. H. B. li. 

3 Pearson, I. 25. B. G., IV. c. 38. 

4 " Paulo facit humiliores . . . et paulo latiores," etc., B. G., V. c. I. 

5 Id., 1, 2. Some of the fittings (qy. cordage?) had to be brought from Spain. 

44 FRESH INVASION [b.c. 54 

keep his headquarters at Portus Itius, 1 so as to arrange for the trans- 
mission of supplies ; whilst Caesar took with him five legions and the 
rest of the cavalry, 20,000 men, more or less ; a force that would leave 
him nothing to contend with except the difficulties of commissariat and 

The reader may be informed that Edward III. in all his glory never 
shipped 10,000 fighting men across the Channel ; Henry V. and Edward IV. 
may have reached that number, but then only after months, in fact years, 
of strenuous exertion. 2 

When all was ready a North-West 3 wind set in, precluding exit from the 
harbour, and Caesar had to wait no less than five-and-twenty days for a 
favourable opportunity. At last the wind turned to south-west, 
and the flotilla got under way one evening about sunset. 4 No 
date is recorded, but probable estimates bring the day to one falling 
between the 18th July and the 20th July. 5 The fleet was accompanied 
by a number of vessels, chartered by individuals on private account, 
bringing up the grand total to some 800 sail. 

About midnight the wind failed ; and when the day broke Caesar found 
that he had been carried by the tide past his destination, Britain lying to 
his left-hand. When the tide turned the fleet drifted back again ; and then 
the men, taking to their oars, with much labour brought the ships, about 
noon, to the landing place of the previous year. Not a native was to be 
seen, the Britons, as Caesar afterwards learned, having been utterly scared 
by the portentous scale of his armament. 

Caesar's first care was to fortify a camp, to guard his ships and keep up 

communications with the Continent. Ten cohorts and 300 horse were 

told off to guard the camp. 6 Preliminaries having been arranged, and the 

position of the Britons ascertained, the army began its march into the 

interior, starting by night. Twelve Roman miles brought them 

V iand e m * within sight of the Britons, established on rising ground on the 
farther side of a river, and prepared to defend the passage. 7 
Measured from Deal, the distance would correspond with that either to 
Littlebourn, or to Barham, both on the Little Stour. 8 

1 As already mentioned, the square ramparts of the Upper Town of Boulogne are 
supposed to mark the camp of Labienus, Histoire de Cesar, II. 171. 

2 See Lancaster and York, II. 407. 3 " Corus." 

4 B. G., V. 5, 7, 8. "Leni Africo provectus." 

5 See Lezuin, 77-79, 84. Histoire de Cesar, II. 185. 

6 B. G., V. 8, 9. Ten cohorts made a legion ; but it is suggested that Caesar took 
two cohorts from each legion to keep up the organisation of his force. Hist, de Cesar, 
II. 186. 7 B. G, V. 9. 

8 Hist, de Cesar, sup. At either place wooded heights would be found on the farther 
side of the river. Supposing Coesar to have landed near Hythe, the twelve miles would 
bring him to Wye on the Stour ; Mr. Lewin would post the Britons in Challock wood, 
a mile to the North, p. 87. 


Driven from the river by the Roman cavalry, the natives retired to 
a stronghold in a wood, fortified with abattis of fallen timber. The 
Seventh Legion cut their way into the wood after a regular siege, 1 and 
then the enemy vanished. Next day Caesar was recalled to the coast by 
reports of another storm, and of damage again done to the shipping. 
Forty vessels had been destroyed. Ten days were spent in 
on tne^oa?^ naunn S U P tne remaining vessels out of reach of the waves ; 
and then, to protect them from the natives, they were sur- 
rounded with earthworks, connecting them with the camp. 2 Having 
thus secured his retreat in case of need, Caesar rejoined his men in the 
advanced camp. The numbers of the Britons had greatly increased, an 
extensive coalition having been formed under the leadership of Cassive- 
launos, a prince, whose territory, Caesar tells us, lay to the North of the 
Thames, at a distance of about 80 Roman miles from the sea. 3 This 
distance (73 English miles) would fairly correspond to that from the 
South Coast, either to the point where Caesar crossed the Thames, or 
to Verlamion, or Verulam, by St. Albans, mentioned by Ptolemy as the 
capital of the Catyeuchlani or Catuvellauni, of whom Cassivelaunos was 
probably King. 4 

Of this man, and his character and position, Caesar was not ignorant, 
as he had in his retinue a British refugee, Mandubratios, whose father, 
Imanuentios, formerly King of the Trinovantes, 5 had been dethroned and 
killed by Cassivelaunos. Mandubratios had gone over to Gaul to invoke 
Caesar's aid, 6 and so, in a manner, Caesar had crossed the Channel on 
purpose to make war on Cassivelaunos. 

Caesar's plan was to attack the enemy in his own country ; and with this 

end he was making for the nearest available ford across the Thames. On 

the first day of the renewed advance the Britons kept up 

Resumed. a series of harassing attacks on the marching columns, the 

Romans, however, driving them steadily before them, with 

little loss except where the pursuit was pushed too far. The Romans, 

however, fought under great difficulties, the legionaries being too heavily 

armed to be able to leave their ranks ; 7 while the cavalry suffered from 

1 "Testudine facta et aggere ad munitiones adjecto," etc., B. G, 9. 

2 " Cum Castris una munitione conjungi," etc. 3 B. G. y IO, II. 

4 M. H. B., xiv. ; Rhys, Celtic Britain, 15, etc. For the name Cassivelaunos, see 
Id. y 281. The tribe-name " Catuvellauni" is not found in Cccsar, but in Dion Cassius, 
LX., s. 20, ' ' KdToveWavol " : It is, however, fully confirmed by the fragmentary 
inscription found on the Roman wall, near Lanercost, " Civitate Catuvellanorum," 
where, apparently, the work done by a British contingent is recorded, C. I. Z., VII. 
No. 863. 

5 The Trinovantes occupied the modern County of Essex and part of Middlesex, 
between the Lea, the Stour, and the Thames. G B. G., V. 22. 

7 " Propter gravitatem armatune quod neque insequi cedentes possent, neque ab signis 
discedere auderent." B. G., V. 16. 

46 THE THAMES FORDED [b.c. 54 

the British practice of dismounting for hand to hand encounters. Again, 
the Britons fought in very open order, the parties in front being relieved 
at short intervals of time. At night, when the Romans set to work to 
entrench their camp, a bold rush was made upon them from a wood ; an4 
two picked cohorts posted on guard were driven in. A military tribune, 
Quintus Liberius Durus, was among the losses of the day. Next day the 
Britons kept at safer distance along the hills, apparently the Surrey Downs, 
till mid-day, when Caesar sent out three legions and all his cavalry to 
forage. The enemy then came down in clouds, attacking even the sup- 
ports round the Standards. 1 The Romans, however, faced them boldly, 
charging home, while the cavalry, profiting by the experience of the 
previous day, kept up a continuous advance, giving the 
the* Britons, chariot-men no time to alight. A severe lesson was inflicted ; 
the British contingents from a distance went home, and no 
general encounter was again risked by them. 2 

From this point Caesar takes us at a stride to the banks of the Thames, 
without noticing a single place or river passed on the way. Presumably he 
marched along the southern slopes of the Surrey hills, through Maidstone 
and Westerham, and so on to Gatton or Dorking ; thence striking north- 
wards to Walton-on-Thames, where abiding tradition points out the site 
of the historic ford of Coway Stakes. 3 

On reaching the place, Caesar found the enemy posted in strength on 

the opposite bank, their side of the river being protected by a strong 

palisade, while stakes had also been driven into the bed of the 

^ross^T 68 ri ver > un der water. He ordered a general assault, the cavalry 

leading. The legionaries in places had to wade up to their 

necks ; 4 but the enemy made a poor resistance : a way was cleared, and 

the whole army crossed in safety. 5 

Cassivelaunos adhered to his defensive tactics ; clearing the country 
along the line of the Roman advance, and besetting every lane and by- 
way with chariots to cut off foraging parties. Had all the Britons been as 
staunch, Caesar might have been reduced to straits ; but the Trinovantes, 
perhaps more anxious to get rid of Cassivelaunos than of the Romans, set 

1 " Sic uti ab signislegionibusque non absisterent," c. 17. 2 lb. 

3 The Thames has changed its bed. In Caesar's time it probably flowed through the 
Broad Water, under the bank of Oatlands Park, rejoining its present channel just below 
Walton Bridge. The primitive road probably passed to the west of Walton village, and 
the site of Coway Ford is to be sought on dry land, in the meadow about 200 yards above 
the bridge on the south side of the existing stream ; Lyson's Environs of London, 
"Shepperton." The ford was pointed out in Breda's time, the stakes being visible, 
thick as a man's thigh, and shod with lead. Hist. EccL, I. 2 ; see Lewin, 103, etc. The 
Ordnance Survey map places Coway Stakes about 560 yards above the bridge on the 
existing stream. 

4 " Cum capite solo ex aqua exstarent." 

5 B.C., V. 18. 


a prudent example of submission. Caisar dealt gently with them, merely 

Submission requiring hostages and a supply of corn, to gether with the 

of restitution of Mandubratios. The cessation of ravages in 

the territory of the Trinovantes induced other communities 

to follow their example ; among these Caesar names the Cenimagni, 

Segontiaci, Ancalites, Bibroci, and Cassi. 1 These men led him to the 

Storming: * ast stron g no ^ °f Cassivelaunos, a fastness amid wood and 

of ' marsh, crowded with men and cattle. 2 Caesar attacked the 

er amion. j iq ^ Qn twQ g-^^ anc j t jj en a g a j n ti ie natives escaped at the 

rear.' 5 

As a last effort Cassivelaunos conceived the brilliant idea of burning the 

Roman ships, and so imprisoning his enemy in the island. Four kings 

of Kent 4 who were acting in concert with him, were directed to make 

the attempt. 5 But the legion on guard sallied on them, and drove them 

off, capturing a noble leader, Lugotorix by name. Beaten and deserted, 

Cassivelaunos now condescended to go through a form of submission, and 

Caesar who was anxious to be off, the equinox drawing near, insisted upon 

nothing but hostages ; a nominal tribute, however, was im- 

a lubmfts n ° S P ose d> an d strict injunctions given not to meddle with 

Mandubratios or the Trinovantes. 6 

Caesar returned to his ships, which were found safe and sound ; but his 

numbers had been so much swelled with captives carried off for the 

market that the return voyage had to be made in two trips. 

Re ^J t0 Towards the end of September Caesar left Britain never to 

return, having on this occasion spent some two months in the 

island. 7 Cicero, who had exchanged letters with his brother Quintus and 

Caesar during the expedition, admits that if the army had run few risks 

1 If the Cenimagni were the same as the later Eceni, they would occupy the modern 
Suffolk and Norfolk ; the Segontiaci are connected by an inscription with the Silchester 
Calleva, on the borders of Berks and Hants. Of the Ancalites nothing is known (yet 
Conf. Ancaster in Oxfordshire, Pearson) ; but the Bibroci have been identified with 
" Berroc," whence the modern name of the county of Berks, and " Bibracte " Bray, 
(conf. the Gaulish Bibracte, Mont Bouvray ; and Bibrax Vieux-Laon). As for the Cassi, 
Mr. Rhys would identify them with the Catti, whose coins have been found in Glou- 
cestershire. Mr. Lewin suggests the Hundred of Cassio in Herts, p. 114. See Rhys' 
Celtic Britain, 28, 29, 283. 

2 The site should be placed at Gorhambury, I \ miles to the west of St. Albans. The 
Roman camp of later days was placed on the banks of the Ver, between Gorhambury and 
St. Albans. 

3 B.G., V. 19-21. 4 Cantium. 

5 Cossar gives their names as Cingetorix, Carvilius, Taximagulus, and Segonax. 

6 B.G., V. 22. Cicero, Epp. ad Atticum, IV. 17. M.H.B., lxxxviii. 

7 B.G., V. 23. Cicero received a letter from his brother Quintus from the British 
coast dated "a.d. VI. Kal. Oct." supra : that would be the 26th Sept : but the Roman 
calendar at the time was in confusion. Mr. Lewin, assuming that it must have been 
high tide when Caesar reached Boulogne, fixes on the morning of the 22nd Sept. for his 
landing there (123, 124). The passage took about eight hours. 

4 3 BRITISH PEARLS [b.c. 54 

it had gathered as few laurels, and little booty. 'I hear,' he says, 'that 
there is neither gold nor silver to be found in Britain. . . . nothing 
but slaves.' 1 British pearls, however, were found in sufficient quantity for 
a votive stomacher to Venus, the patroness of the Julian House. 2 

Many spots in Southern Britain have been glorified by a connexion 
with Caesar's name ; but no traces of any works that can be recognised as 
his doing, have been made out. 3 On the other hand, we have within the 
limits of Holwood Park, adjoining Hayes Common, near Bromley, triple 
earthworks enclosing part of a British camp ; and again we have at St. 
Georges' Hill, near Walton-on-Thames, an undoubted British fastness, 
with the usual concentric ramparts and ditches. It is quite possible that 
from this point the natives may have watched Caesar's advance from the 
Surrey Downs. At any rate these fortifications cannot be ascribed to any 
period later than the Claudian conquest (a.d. 43-47). 

Another non-Roman work may be seen in the so-called Caesar's Camp 
on Wimbledon Common. Whenever executed, this entrenchment must 
have been intended to resist an advance from the South, as its defensive 
strength points wholly in that direction. Had it been intended to face an 
enemy coming from the North, it .must have been placed at the other end 
of the plateau, at the top of Putney Hill. But as it is girt only by one 
rampart and one ditch it ought probably to be referred to a post-Roman 

1 Ad Familiares, VII. 7. Ad. Attic, sup. See M.H.B., sup. 

2 C. J. Solinus, Poly hist., c. 53. M.H.B., x. 

3 See Mr. George Payne's Archaeological Map of Kent, Archceologia, li, 447. 


B.C 54-A.D. 7S 

Last Native Kings in Britain — Roman Invasion — Conquests of Aulus Plautius, Ves- 
pasian, Ostorius Scapula, Suetonius Paullinus, and Petilius Cerialis — Reduction 
of Britain to the line of the Humber, perhaps of the Tyne. 

DURING nearly a hundred years Britain, though occasionally 
threatened, was left unmolested by Rome. Augustus talked of 
invasion, but refrained from it in fact. Tiberius declared himself bound 
by the policy of his predecessor. 1 But with the subjugation of Gaul, 
Roman influences made their way across the Channel. Thus we find the 
old uninscribed currency of Greek origin giving place to inscribed coins, 
and coins of Roman type. From these some scraps of British history have 
been recovered. 

Commios, Caesar's friend, broke with the Romans, and, eventually flying 

from their hateful presence, disappeared from Gaul about the year 51 b.c. 2 

It would seem that he retired to his possessions in Britain, 3 

' where he bequeathed three principalities to his sons, Tin- 

commios, Verica, 4 and Eppillos; who ruled, the first in Hampshire 

_ . and Sussex : the second in Surrey and Sussex : the third in 
commios. J 

Kent. 5 Another Kentish prince was Dubnovelaunos who, 
whether as conqueror or refugee, seems in his latter days to have passed 

over into Essex. He may be identified as one of the two 
launos." British kings who, to avert threatened invasion, made a 

formal submission of the island to Augustus. 
Further north we find a king whose name appears in Latin as Tascio- 

1 " Consilium id Divus Augustus vocabat ; Tiberius pneceptum." Tacit., Agric. % c. 13. 

2 De Bell Gall, VIII. 48. 

3 So Frontinus, M.H.B., xci. For a coin with the name of Commios, see Sir J. 
Evans' Coins of Ancient Britons, 157.. Julius Frontinus served in Britain A.D. 75-78. 

4 For the name Verica, conf. " Ard-verikie," in Perthshire : 'The Hill of Verika.' 

5 Evans, 151-155 and Supplement, 509 ; Rhys, Celtic Britain, 22, etc. Eppilos seems 
to have survived Verica, as on some coins he styles himself " rex calle." This looks 
like Calleva, which is generally identified with Silchester, but "there seems to have been 
another Calleva situated at Haslemere in Surrey," Rhys, 24. (Some of Verica's coins 
are thought to have been struck in Gaul, as if he had some dominion there also. Evans, 

6 See Evans, 198, etc., and his reading of the Ancyra Tablet commemorating the 
deeds of Angustus, M.H.B., cvi. ; Rhys, 25-27. The other prince may have been 
Tincommios, — "tim," is all that appears. For the attitude of Augustus and Tiberius 
towards British conquest see Hiibner's Exercitus Britannicus, Hermes, XVI. 517. 

49 T7 


vanus, or Tasciovans. He must have been a successor of Cassivelaunos, 
as his capital was Verlamion, where most of his coins were 
struck. The number of these, and the variety of their types, 
suggest that he was a ruler of considerable importance. His influence 
would seem to have extended at any rate over the districts represented by 
Herts, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hunts, Northants, Beds, Bucks, Oxon, 
Berks, and Kent. 1 Besides Verlamion, his coins appear to claim for him 
two other cities, indicated as Sego and Riconi, neither of which have been 
satisfactorily identified. 2 His coins give evidence that he was living after 
the year 13 b.c. It has been conjectured that he may have reigned from 
about 30 b.c. to a.d. 5. 3 

Tasciovans left two sons ; and again a partition took place. Cunobe- 

linos, the Cymbeline of romance, succeeding to the bulk of 

' his father's dominions, with his capital at Camulodunon by 

Colchester : while Epaticcos inherited or conquered a smaller 

principality in Western Surrey and East Wilts. 4 

It has been suggested that Cunobelinos may have become the ruler 

of the Trinovantes in his father's lifetime, as the conqueror of Dub- 

novelaunos ; 5 and that having been established at Camulodunon he 

preferred to remain there. After his father's death it is clear that he 

was the most important personage in Britain. The " finds " of his coins 

indicate that his authority extended to the districts represented 

CunTbJiinos. by Norfolk and Suffolk in addition to those under the sway of 

his father. The "number and variety" of his coins prove 

that his reign "must have extended over many years." 6 His accession 

has been conjecturally placed about the year 5 a.d. : the date of his death 

can be fixed with greater certainty, as it falls under the light of external 

history. . His last years were clouded with troubles ominous for the future. 

About the year 39 a.d. he had to banish a troublesome son, called 

Adminius by Suetonius. This son repairing to the court of the Emperor 

Caligula, who was then in Gaul, made a " cheap surrender" of his father's 

kingdom. Caligula reported the important cession to the Senate, and 

prepared an army to assert his rights. According to unfriendly writers he 

led his legions down to the seashore, reviewed them from a trireme, and 

then dismissed them to gather shells as ' the spoils of the ocean.' 7 

Next year Caligula was assassinated, and Claudius became Emperor. 

1 These are the counties in which his coins have been found. Middlesex also may be 
safely assumed to have been under his rule. 

2 Sego or Segontium has been identified with Silchester on the strength of an inscrip- 
tion found there : deo her[culi] s^gon, Rhys, 49. But the place is too far south, 
and it is not clear that S^GON is a local designation. Evans, 283. 

3 See Evans, 220-275. 

4 Evans, 276-280. For the final "o" in Camulodunon, see p. 337 : so too of Verla- 
mion. 5 Evans 2S7. G Id., 288. 

7 a.d. 40 : Suetonius, Caligula, 43, 44, 46 ; Dion., LTX. 21, 25 ; conf. Tacit., Agric. t 


Of Adminius nothing more is heard : but another refugee turns up in the 

person of one Bericos, again to invite foreign intervention in the affairs of 


The Romans ^ ne Britains could neither rule themselves nor defend them- 

caiied in. selves, and their hour was come. 

Claudius entered into the scheme of a conquest of Britain. 1 Born at 
Lugdunum (Lyons) he took a deep interest in Gaulish affairs; and he 
doubtless regarded Britain as an unsubdued outwork of Celtic nationality. 
He also wished " to earn a title and a triumph, like his ancestors before 
him, on the field of battle." The organisation of the expedition, how- 
ever, and the opening of the campaign were delegated to a tried soldier, 
who held a high command in Gaul at the time, and was perhaps a con- 
nexion of the Emperor, Aulus Plautius. 2 Among his subordinates was a 
man for whom fate had great things in store, Titus Flavius Vespasi- 


The Legions selected for the expedition were the 2nd, "Augusta " ; 9th, 

'•' Hispana" ', 14th i( Gemina" ; and 20th, " Valeria Victrix"; four in all, 

with the " vexillarii " of the 8th Legion, making up from 

AUl tius laU " 20 > 000 t0 25,000 regulars, besides auxiliaries. 4 Presumably 

the army was brought to Boulogne, now styled Gesoriacum, the 

port from which Claudius himself sailed later in the year. The prospect 

of relegation to an unknown and inhospitable isle was not grateful to the 

soldiery, and they broke into open revolt, refusing to sail. Narcissus, the 

Emperor's freedman, came down to reason with them. At first they 

greeted him with derisive cries. But Narcissus must have had some 

effective arguments at command, as in the next sentence we are told, 

without one word to account for the change, that the Legionaries returned 

to their duty, and submitted to orders. 5 

The army was taken over in three detachments to facilitate landing. The 

crossing was effected not without hindrance from weather and tides, but 

without opposition from the natives ; who had been lulled into 

an mg * security by the reported disaffection of the Roman troops. 

13 ; Germ., 37 ; M. H. B., xlix. liii. ; Merivale, V. 457. Caligula built a lighthouse 
at Gesoriacum now Boulogne. It is stated that relics of this building were still traceable 
a century ago. Histoire de Cesar, II. 167. Boulogne therefore probably was the scene 
of his demonstration. 

1 See Merivale, VI. 2-15 ; Mommsen, Rbmische Geschichte, V. 155-158. 

2 Merivale, 18. Hiibner suggests that Plautius may have been brother of the Empress 
Plautia Urgulanilla, and legatus of the army of Upper Germany {exercitus Ger/nania 
superioris), Rbmische Hcer in Britannien, Hermes, XVI. 519. 

3 He was legalns of the 2nd Legion. Hiibner, 525. 

4 Hiibner makes the auxiliaries equal to the regulars, making 50,000 or 60,000 fighting 
men : sup., 523, 526. Mommsen takes a total of 40,000 : V. 160. Either number seems 

5 So Dion., Ix. 19. The writer apparently follows the lost Tenth Book of the A nnals 
of Tacitus-. Hiibner, 518. 6 Dion., sup. 

52 ADVANCE TO LONDON [\.v. 43 

No indication is given of the place where Aulus landed, but we may fairly 
assume that it was somewhere on the Kentish coast. Cunobelinos was no 
more, having died within the last two or three years. At his death appar- 
Tog-odumnos ent ^ ttie usua * partition had taken place between his sons 
and Togodumnos and Caratocos, better known as Caractacus. 1 
Caratocos. jr ii ow j n g xh e tactics of Cassivelaunos against Caesar, the 
Britons kept on the defensive ; and Plautius had much ado to get at them, 
in their woods and swamps, as they fell back from one position to another. 
The reduction of their first line of defence was rewarded by the submission 
of part of the Boduni? apparently a western tribe under the supremacy of 
the Catuvelauni. As the Romans now meant to remain in Britain a 
garrison was left among the new subjects. The next advance brought 
Plautius to a river, too deep to be forded, with the enemy posted on the 
opposite bank. From its evident connexion with the Thames the river 
must be identified with the Medway. 3 The Britons thought themselves 
safe, but the Gaulish auxiliaries were made to swim the river on one flank, 
while on the other flank Vespasian was sent up the stream to make his 
way across as best he could. Attacked on two sides the Britons made 
a very creditable resistance ; renewing the struggle on the morrow, and 
nearly capturing the legatus of one of the Legions. But in the end they 
were thoroughly beaten, and driven to the Thames, here described as a 
tidal river. The Britons had means of crossing; and the Roman advance 
was checked. But the Gaulish horse again swam the river in places, 

while other detachments crossed by a bridge higher up. It 
Bridge. ^ oes not seem ^ ar f etcne d to regard this as the first notice of 

our great historic thoroughfare — London Bridge. 4 
Skirmishing operations ensued in which the Britons suffered severely, 
the Romans losing a few men in the marshes, a well-known feature of the 
Thames to this day. 5 Togodumnos had now fallen ; and Plautius, judg- 
ing that the time for the Imperial intervention had come, sent word to 

Claudius, who sailing from Ostia to Marseilles, and thence 

Emperor making his way, partly by land and partly by river to Gesoria- 

ciaudius. cur)Q) 6 joined the camp on the banks of the Thames. A 

general advance across the river was then made to Camulodunon : the 

1 Dion., sup. Evans, 294. Rhys, 76. A coin has been found with the legend "cara" 
or "carat." This may fairly be ascribed to Caratocos, though Mr. Evans thinks the 
type rather early for him. Supplement, 552. 

2 "jctepos tl tu>v Bodovvcov." The name Boduni looks very like the Dobunni of 
Ptolemy, but these are placed between the two Avons and the Severn. According to 
our idea of the campaign Dion's Boduni could not be placed further west than Sussex. 

3 So too Pearson, I. 30, and Mommsen, V. 160, note. 

4 The bridge may have been constructed by Tasciovanus or Cunobelinos as a military 
work, to keep up the connexion between Verlamion and Kent, by " the Old Kent 

5 Dion,, s. 20. 6 Suetonius, Claudius, c. 17 ; M. H. B., xlix. 

a.d. 43-47] AN IMPERIAL VISIT 53 

stockades were stormed and Catuvelauni and Trinovantes surrendered 
their independence. But Caratocos, scorning to submit, retired like the 
Ambrosius Aurelianus of a later day, to keep up the hopeless struggle in 
the West. 

After sixteen days in Britain Claudius returned to Rome "to enjoy a 
triumph and the surname of Britannicus." l 

Aulus Plautius remained in Britain, as proprietor and legate with con- 
sular authoritity, 8 to carry on the work. The brunt of the fighting was 
borne by Vespasian. In the course of four years' time he is given credit 
for having fought thirty actions, taken twenty towns, and conquered two 
. ' nations ' (gentes) and the Isle of Wight. As these deeds are 
said to have been done partly under Aulus, and partly under 
Claudius himself, the whole of the conquests of the first four years seem 
to be here ascribed to Vespasian. 3 The one 'nation' therefore would be 
the Trinovantes-Catuvelauni ; the other perhaps the Belgas. 4 A pig of 
Roman lead has been found in the Mendip hills with the date for the year 
49, only two years after the recall of Plautius. 5 This seems to warrant 
the belief that the conquest had been pushed by him to the banks of the 
Bristol Channel, possibly to the line of the Exe. 6 

The Roman road from London to Bath (Aquce Sufis), with the great 
camp at Silchester (Caffeva Atrebatum); and minor posts at Speen (Spince), 
Mildenhall (Cunetio), and Sandy Lane (Verfucio) would represent the 
times or military frontier at this time. 7 

The Romans were always ready to make terms with native princes 

willing to accept positions of friendly dependence. Such a man was 

Cogidubnus, king of Regnum (Chichester) or the "Regni," who was allowed 

• t0 assume tne Imperial name, "Tiberius Claudius"; and to 

style himself ' Legate of Augustus.' Hemmed in on all sides 

1 Dion., s. 23 ; Suetonius, step. Pearson. Claudius was absent from Rome about six 
months in all. 

2 "Legatus consularis," Sueton., Vesp., 4. On the inscriptions the regular designation 
of the Governors for 200 years to come is "LEG. AUG. PR. FR" =Legatus August i 

3 "Partim Claudii ipsiusductu." Suetonius, sup. Tacitus, Agncol., 13, 14; Hist. III. 
44: "Monstratus fatis Vespasianus." The statement in Dion. s. 30, that Vespasian's 
life was saved on one occasion by his son Titus is shown by Merivale to be impossible, 
as Titus was a mere child at the time. Romans under Empire, VII. 50 ; correcting 
VI. 28. 

4 The towns of the Belgce given by Ptolemy are Ichalis = Uchester ; ' Hot Springs ' = 
Bath; Venta= Winchester. 

5 Hiibner, sup., 531. 

6 Numerous coins of Claudius have been found at Exeter (Isca Damnoniorum). This 
suggests an early occupation. Merivale, 28, citing Shortt, Silva Iscana. 

7 See the Antonine Itinerary Mon. Hist. Brit., p. xxii., and Mr. Hughes' map. The 
camp at Silchester encloses an area of 120 acres ; Wright, Celt, Roman and Saxon, 178. 
For recent excavations there see Papers in Archceol. XL., XLVIL, and L. 

54 THE NEN-AVON LINE [a.d. 47-50 

he might well remain 'faithful.' 1 An alliance on more equal terms had 

mT . T . also apparently been formed with the Iceni or Icii, 2 neigh- 
Tlie Iceni. , vv , J . . . _ . ° 

bours and enemies of the Trmovantes. 

In 47 Aulus Plautius was recalled to enjoy his well-earned triumph : 
"the last Roman subject to whom that distinction was conceded." 3 His 
successor was Publius Ostorius Scapula, who however did not make his 
appearance in Britain till the year 50. 4 The Province having been left for 
three years without a head, affairs were found to be in great 
Scapula! confusion. 5 The independent natives were making war freely 
on the friendly allies, and endeavouring to arrange for com- 
bined action ; while the Roman captains again showed too much dis- 
position to act independently of each other. Scapula showed extraordinary 
promptitude and vigour. Although winter had set in, he hurried his men 
from one point to another, crushing all resistance. His next step was 
to fortify a frontier by establishing a chain of outposts from the Nen, 
presumably along the line of the Warwickshire Avon, to the 
Nen-Severn Severn. 6 Lastly he began to disarm all natives within those 
e ' limits. But the Iceni refused to be disarmed. They had 
joined the Romans of their own free will, and their resources were unim- 
paired by war. Under their leadership a confederate army was mustered 
in one of the usual strongholds, a place inaccessible to cavalry and forti- 
fied with earthworks. 7 

Scapula's force consisted mainly if not wholly of auxiliaries, 8 but he did 

1 Tacit., Agric, 14 ; Hiibner, sup., 528. An inscription has been found at Chichester 
which is read : "Claudius [Cojgidubnus rex legatus Augusti." C.I.L., VII. No. 11. 

2 This people occupied our Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, etc. For their coins, 
some of them with the legend ECEN, see Evans, 379, etc. Their well-known town, 

Vent a Icenorum, Caistor, apppears in the Geographer of Ravenna as Vent a Cenomum. 
This seems to supply a link with the Cenimagni of Caesar. It seems impossible not to 
connect the name with the "Icks,"so thickly scattered over East Anglia, such as 
Ickborough (Norf.) ; Iken, Exning, Ickworth (Suff.) ; Ickwell (Beds.) ; Ickford (Bucks) ; 
Ickenham (Mddx.) ; the Icknield Way, etc. The Antonine Itinerary has an " Icianos," 
either in Cambridgeshire or Hunts, on the road from London to Lincoln (Lindum). 

3 Dion., s. 30; Tacit., Ann., XII. 32; Mommsen, V. 161 ; Merivale, VI. 29. 

4 Tacit., Ann., XII. 25, 31. 

5 " Turbidae res excepere. 

6 " Cunctaque castris [ad] Antonam et Sabrinam fluvios cohibere parat." Most geo- 
graphers take the Antona as the Nen. Mr. H. Bradley (Academy, 28th April, and 19th 
May, 1883, and 2nd April, 1892) would read, " cunctaque eis Trisantonam et Sabrinam" 
etc., making the Trisantona = the Trent. But this would place the boundary too far 
north, with a long winding line ; nor do we find there the chain of Roman stations that 
can be traced from the Nen to the Warwickshire Avon. For these see Appendix to this 

7 " His auctoribus circumjectae nationes locum pugnae delegere," etc. Borough Hill, 
near Daventry, has been suggested as the place. There is a well-marked Celtic camp 

8 " Sociales copias sine robore legionum." 


not hesitate to join issue with the tribes. The earthworks were stormed 
and the natives driven out with heavy loss. 1 

The Southern Midlands having been awed into ''sullen submission," 

Scapula seized the opportunity to push an advance in a north-westerly 

direction, leading his men into the new territory of the Cangu Pigs 

of Roman lead found with the mark DE CEANGI connect 

^street 1111 ^ tne name with our Staffordshire and Cheshire.- Of course 

this line of advance would coincide with the celebrated 

arterial road, the Watling Street, which thus presumably may be said 

to date from this epoch. We are told that the advance was pushed to the 

neighbourhood of the Irish Sea. 3 As the next recorded move brought 

the Romans within the limits of our Yorkshire, we may further conjecture 

that Chester as a Roman station dates from this expedition. 

From the neighbourhood of the coast the Legate was induced to turn 

inland by reports of movements among the Brigantes, the most powerful 

of British nations, who apparently ruled all the country from the Mersey 

and the Humber to the Cheviots ; in fact the later Beruicia, 
Brigantes. a name clearly connected with " Brigantes. n 4 

Scapula was too prompt for the Brigantes, who were evi- 
dently not prepared for war, and peace was made at the expense of a few 
restless spirits who were sacrificed. 5 The attack on the Brigantes was 
clearly intended to leave the Legate free for the great work he had at 
heart, the reduction of our Wales, and especially of South Wales, where 
Caratocos still found men to follow him. Scapula's hands had been 
strengthened for this undertaking by the establishment of a colony of 
veterans, the first in Britain, at Camulodunon, " Colonia Victrix " ; 
whereby the Legion previously quartered there, probably the 14th, would 
be available for service elsewhere. 6 

1 Tacit., sup., c. 31. The legate's son Marcus earned a civic crown for saving a 
comrade's life. 

2 C.I.L., VII. Nos. 1,204, 1,205, x >2o6. Ptolemy gives the name of " YayyavQu 
&Kpov," the "Cape of the Gangani," to the chief promontory of N. Wales, Bachy Pult 
Point, in Carnarvonshire. M. H. B., xii. Mr. Rhys reads the inscription on the 
Cheshire pigs, " DECEANGL," and identifies the name with Tegeingl, "the name of 
a district embracing the coast from Cheshire to the river Cluyd '"' : Academy, 21st 
October, 1891. But Scapula clearly did not attack Wales till later. 

3 " Haud procul mari quod Hiberniam aspectat." Tacitus, sup. 

4 Rhys derives Bernicia and Bernicii "from the Anglo-Saxon Bsernicas, which appears 
to have been the English pronunciation ... of Breennych or Brenneicb," the 
" Welsh equivalent " of Brigantes. C. B., in. 

5 "Brigantes . . . paucis interfectis . . . resedere. Tacit., sup., 32. 

6 Tacitus, J7//., Hiibner, sup., 533, 534. The colony is represented by Colchester, 
where the Roman walls may yet be seen. The British Camulodunon must have stood 
somewhere near, as the name was transferred to the Roman town, perhaps in Lexden 
Park, a site protected by a deep ravine, with earthworks and a tumulus still remaining. 
To the W. and S. of these three parallel lines of earthworks are visible, arranged en echelon 

56 CARATOCOS AT ROME [a.d. 50 

The Silures occupied the Eastern half of South Wales, apparently 

between the lower course of the Severn and the Bay of Caermarthen, 

districts known in later times as Morganwg, otherwise Glam- 
The Silures. , „ ~ ...... ° °' 

organ and Gwent. lacitus distinguishes these men from the 

other Britons by their swarthy complexions and curly hair, 1 a type which 

to his mind suggested a Spanish origin. Modern writers regard them as 

Gael with a large infusion of pre-Celtic blood. 2 Less civilized than the 

other Britons, their history proved them an intrepid and indomitable race. 3 

Ostorius probably made his advance from Glevuin, Gloucester, where 

perhaps the second legion may have had its headquarters ; 4 but this is not 

recorded. At his approach Caratocos withdrew into the hills of 
Th ? the Ordovices, another powerful community who occupied 

Middle and North Wales. 5 Driven to bay, he took his stand 
on a range of hills, in a position fortified with ramparts of loose stones, 
and protected by a river. We are told that the Legate hesitated, but 
that the soldiers refused to be kept back. A way across the river having 
been found, the ramparts were attacked and undermined by men working 
under cover of mantlets. 7 The Britons then retired along the hill tops, 

the Romans pressing them on all sides. The rout was com- 
Caratocos P^ ete : t ^ ie w ^ e an( * daughter °f Caratocos were taken ; his 

brothers surrendered their arms. 8 He himself escaped to the 
Brigantes to be ultimately given up by their queen Cartismandua (a.d. 
51). 9 He was sent to Rome and exhibited in a martial spectacle. Nine 
years of resistance had made his name great, even at Rome. His manly 
bearing justified the interest already excited by his career. He was allowed 
to live in honourable custody with his family. " They were enrolled 
perhaps among the clients of the Claudian house ; and indulgence may be 

so as to cover the whole space between the Colne, near Lexden Park, and the Roman 
River at Baymill. These must be considered Roman works. Three British roads are 
believed to have radiated from Lexden : one to Chelmsford ; one to Verulam ; and one 
to Cambridge. Quarterly Review, vol. 97, p. 77. 

1 " Colorati vultus et torti plerumque crines." Agricola, c. II. 

2 Rhys, C. £., 80. 

3 " Validam et pugnacem gentem." Tacitus, Agricola, c. 17. 

4 Hiibner, sup., 531. 

5 The name may perhaps be traced in Cantref Orddwyf (for Orddwy), formerly given 
to "the district between the Dovey and Gwynedd." Rhys, C. B., 299, citing Iolo 
MS., 86, 477. Mr. Rhys would confine the Ordovices to Mid-Wales, but with Tacitus 
they clearly cover the country from the border of the Silures to the Menai Straits : so too 
with Ptolemy. 

G " Praefiuebat amnis vado incerto." 

7 " Testudine facta." 

8 Tacitus, sup., 33-35. For the various places suggested for the battle, see Merivale, 
37. The most likely perhaps is Cefn Carnedd, west of the Severn, near Llanidloes ; 
Ilartshorne, Salop. Antiq., 63. 

9 " Traditus est novo post anno quam bellum in Britannia coeptum." Tacit., 36. 

a.d. 5i 1 PUD ENS AND CLAUDIA 57 

challenged for the pleasing conjecture, that Claudia the foreigner, 

Claudia the offspring of the painted Britons, whose charms 

Claudia. -^ , .. , - 

and genius are celebrated by Martial was actually the child of 

the hero Caractacus." ! 

Ostorius failed to retain his hold on the country of the Silures. The 

outposts that he attempted to fortify were overwhelmed with heavy losses ; 

on one occasion a camp prefect and eight centurions were killed ; on 

another two auxiliary cohorts were cut off. Worn out by the interminable 

struggle Ostorius died. 2 A successor was promptly sent out in the person 

of Aulus Didius Gallus. An elderly man, the new propraetor 

Auius was con tent to work through others, dividing his attentions 

between the Silures on the one hand, and the Brigantes on 

the other. The Silures were stubbornly independent. The Brigantes 

were divided ; their Queen, Cartismandua, holding to a Roman alliance ; 

while Venutios, a distinguished warrior whom she had taken as her 

husband, favoured a more independent policy, and the Romans had to 

do some fighting to keep the friendly Queen on her throne. 3 

No advance however was made during the six years that Didius lived ; 
nor under his successor Veranius, who, obtaining the command about 
a.d. 58, died within the year. In 59 the command was given 
PauiiSius t0 Suetonius Paullinus, a general reputed second only to 
Corbulo. 4 Again for two years we are told that he was con- 
tent to consolidate his dominion. 

A good deal however to change the aspect of Britain had been done in 
the eighteen years since Aulus Plautius landed. London was beginning 
to take its place as the commercial centre of the island, if not the seat of 
government. 5 To this period we may ascribe the construction of most of 
the highways from London to the South Coast ; and also of 
making- those from London to Gloucester (Glevum), to Wroxeter 
(Uriconiuni) and Chester (Deva), this last being the well- 
known later Watling Street. Possibly the road from Colchester by God- 
manchester (Durolipom) and Leicester (Rata) to Chester, which has been 
called by antiquarians the Via Devana, may date from this period. 

In the wake of the Legions came troops of speculators, eager to make 

1 Merivale, VI. 41. Martial, Epi^.. V. 48; VI. 5S. As Martial's Claudia was the 
wife of one Pudens, the further question arises whether they should be identified with 
Pudens and Claudia mentioned by St. Paul (2 Tim. iv. 21). See Alford's note ad loc. 
Another suggestion is that the British lady Claudia was daughter of Claudius Cogidubnus, 
the king of the Chichester inscription, because Pudens, son of Pudentinus, appears 
on that inscription as giving the site for a temple. M.H.B., No. 124; Williams' 
Quarterly Review, v. 97, p. 101. Contra Hallam, Archccol., xxxiii. p. 322. 

2 Tacit., Ann., XII. 38, 39. 3 Tacit., Ann., XII. 40. 

4 Tacit., Agric, 14 ; Annals, XIV. 29. The dates are by no means clear. 

5 " Londinium . . . copia negotiatorum et commeatuum maxime celebre." 
Tacit., Ann., XIV. 33. 

58 MONA AND DRUIDISM [a.d. 61 

money out of the country and its people. Conscription, taxation, and re- 
quisitions pressed hard upon men little used to government of any sort. 
Capitalists — " such as Seneca, moralist and sycophant " — offered fatal 
facilities to needy chiefs j the administration was bound by no law ; in 
short "tyranny" had been "organised" till it had "become insuffer- 
able." 1 

Unconscious, however, of the ferment that was brewing behind him 
in the East, Suetonius in the year 6i 2 undertook the reduction of 

Mona, Anglesey ; described as a harbour for refugees ; and of 
(Anglesey). course tne stronghold of Druidism and Celtic nationality- 

The disposition of the forces shows where the resistance to 
the invaders at this time lay. Of the four Legions now quartered in 
Britain the second was probably at Isca Silurum, Caerleon-upon-Usk ; 
the fourteenth at Uriconium, Wroxeter; and the twentieth at Deva, 
Chester. 3 Only the ninth remained to watch the Midlands and the East. 

For the transport of his infantry across the Menai Straits Suetonius had 
prepared flat-bottomed barges ; the cavalry being left to ford or swim the 
Channel. 4 The Britons had mustered all the weapons of their simple 
repertory to defend their stronghold. Dishevelled women robed in black 
ran up and down the ranks with flaming torches, while the Druids filled 
the air with curses and incantations. The legionaries for a moment were 

overawed by the strange weirdness of the sight ; then shaking 
o?Sruidisn? °^ superstitious terror they charged home and scattered the 

natives. The Druids were immolated on their own altars ; 5 
the sacred groves cut down ; and Druidism trampled under foot. G From 
the reeking ashes of Mona Suetonius was recalled by alarming tidings from 
headquarters. For some years, perhaps from the time of their revolt in 
the year 50, the Iceni had been ruled, under Roman protection, by one 
Prasutagos. Possessed of considerable means, he had hoped to secure 
something for his daughters by naming them joint-heirs with the 
Emperor. At his death his dispositions were set aside, and his daughters 

found themselves slaves in their own home. For attempting 
toelceni! t0 assert tne i r rights their mother, Queen Boudicca, 7 was 

scourged, and they themselves brutally outraged. With a wild 

1 See Mommsen, V. 161 ; Merivale, VI. 49; Pearson, I. 32. The reference to 
Seneca comes from Dion, lxii. s. I ; M.H. £., lvi. 

2 Tacit., Ann., XIV. 29. This is the first distinct date given by him since that of 
the extradition of Caratocos in 51. 3 Mommsen, 162. 

4 Between Beaumaris and Aber the sands may be crossed on foot at low water, all but 
a narrow channel on the Anglesey side. 

5 The Romans after all only treated the Druids as the English in the fifteenth century 
treated the Pucelle, Joan of Arc. 

Tacit., Ann., XIV. 29, 30; Agricola, 14. For the survival of Druidism outside the 
pale of the Roman dominions, see above, chap. i. 

7 For the name see Rhys, C. B., 278. " Bodicca," " Boudica " and a masculine 
" Bodiccius" are found on inscriptions. 

a. d. 6 1 ] ROMAN RE VERSES 5 9 

Celtic outburst the Iceni once more flew to arms. They were promptly 
joined by the Trinovantes who had special grievances of their own. The 
erection of a temple to the ' Divine Claudius ' at Camulodunum had been 
felt as a national insult ; and the military colonists, not content with the 
lands assigned to them had freely laid their hands on everything. In the 
absence of Suetonius the colonists appealed to Catus Decianus, the pro- 
curator or fiscal administrator of the province. Two hundred men were 
all the reinforcement that he could send them, the soldiery being 
scattered in outposts. 1 Undefended as yet by walls or ramparts, 2 

Camulodunum was stormed and sacked, the regular troops 
Boudicca. holding out for two days in the temple. Boudicca then led 

her men to meet the 9th Legion, the only one within reach, 
who were hurrying to the rescue ; and again fairly overwhelmed them in 
the fury of her rush, the Legate Petilius Cerialis only escaping with his 
cavalry. The guilty procurator who had caused all the mischief, abandon- 
ing hope, took ship for Gaul. 

On receiving the alarm Suetonius at once started for London, marching 
boldly through troubled districts ; 3 his steps probably traversing the 

Watling Street. He took with him the 14th Legion and the 
Suetonius. tl vexillarii" 4 of the 20th. The 2nd was ordered to leave its 

quarters in the country of the Silures and rejoin the proprcetor 
in the South. Their camp-praefect, Paenius Postumus, ignored the 
summons, and kept within his earthworks. On reaching London 
Suetonius was at first in doubt as to the course he ought to pursue ; 
namely, whether he should remain on the defensive within the precincts of 
London, or boldly face the enemy in the field. Satisfied of the import- 
ance of prompt resistance to the movement he left London to its fate, 

carrying off all able-bodied men fit for service. Thus aban- 
tmrnt! 1 doned, London fell a prey to the Britons, who laid it in ashes. 5 

Verulam had suffered the same fate. Suetonius prudently 
took up a position to await attack. His numbers all told made up 

1 " Praesidiis et castellis." 

2 " Nullis munimentis sasptam." This seems to imply that the Lexden works had not 
been constructed. But if they had been the colonists were probably not strong enough 
to man three miles of earthworks. 

3 " Mira constantia medios inter hostes Londinium perrexit." 

4 The Vexillarii of a legion appear to have been men who having served the proper 
time of sixteen years, as limited by Augustus, were re-enlisted under special conditions, 
and a vexillum of their own to serve for a further period of four years to make up the 
original twenty years of liability of service of Republican days. The vexillarii were 
excused fatigue duties. Their numbers are estimated at from 500 to 1,000 per legion. 
See Smith, Diet. Antiq. 

5 Excavations in the city have brought to light the traces of two buried Roman cities, 
with a layer of ashes between them. These ashes are supposed to mark the conflagration 
of the year 61. Meriv., 57. 


10,000 men, a very substantial force of disciplined soldiers, when properly 
led. He selected a position with a narrow front backed by a wood where 
he could not be outflanked ; and placed his men in extra deep formation, 
to withstand the first wild rush, the dangerous point of a Celtic attack. 
The Britons, flushed with success and laden with spoil, came on in count- 
less bands ; Boudicca riding in a chariot with her daughters. The 

Romans allowed the natives to begin the attack, keeping to 
Setoniusf tne * r vanta § e ground, and plying them with the pilum\ when 

their onset began to flag, the Romans formed a wedge, charged 
home, and all was over. The escape of the vanquished was much im- 
peded by their own waggons and the presence of their wives and children. 
No mercy was shown to age or sex. The Romans, however, admitted a 
loss of 400 killed in the action. Boudicca destroyed herself with poison. 
Pasnius Postumus, the camp-praefect on hearing of the victory threw himself 
on his own sword. 1 

The Britons were now crushed, but Suetonius showed no disposition to 
be merciful. Famine ensued, the natives being driven from their fields. 
The newly appointed procurator, Julius Classicianus, openly condemned 
the severity of the legate. Polycletus, a freedman of the Court, was sent 
out to report on the state of affairs in Britain. Unable to establish 

harmony between the two chiefs, he requested Paullinus to 
TurpmTnus. surr ender his authority to a successor, Petronius Turpilianus 

(a.d. 62). 2 Under his gentle rule the land began to recover 
from its wounds (62-65 ?). 

The like gentleness, contemptible in the eyes of the martial historian, 
characterised the rule of his successor Trebellius Maximus, whose policy 

is described as 'the very urbanity of administration.' 3 The 
MaximS stru gg les th at followed the death of Nero led to no civil strife 

in the British dominion, 4 the partizans of the different factions 
leaving the Island to join the continental armies and fight abroad. 
Trebellius declared for Vitellius; but while caressing the natives he had 
lost the confidence of his own soldiers ; and so he had to join his master 

all alone, nobody following him. 5 Vettius Bolanus was 
Boiauus appointed to succeed him in Britain in the Vitellian interest 

(a.d. 69). But he too found the cause of Vespasian too strong 

1 Tacitus, Ann., XIV. 31-37 ; Agricola, 15, 16. The narrative of Dion, LXII. 
s. 1-4, except where he follows Tacitus, is of little account. As for the site of the battle, 
we need not suppose that Suetonius moved far from the basin of the Thames ; all that 
he wanted was elbow room. 

2 Tacit., Ann., sup., 38, 39 ; Agric, 16. 

3 "Petronius . . . honestum pacis nomen segni otio imposuit." Trebellius, 
"segnior . . . comitate quadam curandi provinciam tenuit." Mr. Petrie places 
the appointment of Trebellius circa a.d. 65, M. H. B., Chron. Abstract, but the evidence 
is not clear. 

4 Tacit, Hist., I. 9. 5 Id., 59, 5o; II. 65. Agricola, sup. 

a.d. 69] "MARKING TIME" 61 

for him, through the influence of the 2nd and 14th Legions. The 2nd 
was Vespasian's old Legion. The 14th had been summoned from Britain 
by Nero ; had sided with Otho against Vitellius ; was again relegated by 
Vitellius to Britain, and was therefore ready to support his enemy. 1 Under 
these circumstances Vettius found an excuse in the state of Britain for 
evading the call of Vitellius to join him in Italy ; 2 and so Vespasian 
allowed him to remain at his post for some months longer. 

In fact the attitude of the Brigantes was disquieting. The dissensions 
between Cartismandua and Venutios had never ceased ; and she, finally 
discarding him, took a new protector in his armour-bearer Vellocatus. 
In 69, when Britain was drained of troops Venutios and his party saw an 
opportunity for shaking off Roman influence, and Cartismandua was only 
saved by the intervention of some cohorts ; but Venutios remained lord 
of the Brigantes. 8 

For eighteen years the Roman dominion in Britain had seemed to 
"mark time"; probably, however, a good deal of unrecorded progress 
had been made. For instance their establishment at Lindum, Lincoln, may 
be ascribed to this period ; 4 marking a third stage in the Roman progress. 
This acquisition may be regarded as won from the Parish', a tribe noticed 
by Ptolemy 5 and usually placed north of the Humber. But their proper 
seat seems fixed by the fact that as late as the thirteenth century " Paris " 
was still the name of the district round Horncastle to which we owe our 
great chronicler, Matthew Paris. 6 But with the accession of Vespasian 
a fresh period of marked advance was inaugurated. In 70 Bolanus was 
relieved by Petilius Cerealis, a thorough-going partisan of the 

CereaSs. Flavian House, who had effaced the memory of his defeat at 

the hands of Boudicca by crushing the revolt of Civilis and 

winning Gaul for the cause of Vespasian. 7 War was promptly declared 

1 Tacit., Hist., II. 65, 66 ; III. 44. Agricoia, 7, 8, 16. The 20th Legion was 
doubtful ; but Agricoia was appointed to it by Mucianus (spring of 70), and secured it 
for Vespasian (Agric, 7). The 14th was then withdrawn from Britain (Tacit., Hist., 
IV. 68). It is believed that after am interval the 2nd " adjiitrix " was sent to replace it 
(Hubner, 539). 

2 Tacit., Hist., II. 97. 

3 Tacit., Hist. III. 45. 

4 An inscription by a " veteranus " of the 14th Legion found at Lincoln raises a 
presumption that the Legion had been at Lindum before it left Britain in 70. C.Z.L., 
VII. 187. The 9th then probably went to Lindum. Hubner, 536. The existing Cathedral 
stands within the precincts of the Roman camp. 

5 M.H.B., XIV. 

c See Sir F. Madden's introduction to vol. iii. of M. Paris' Hist. Minor. Coins 
marked PA. have been found at places between Vork and Chester, and again south 
of the Wash, but not in Lincolnshire. See the map in Sir John Evans' Supplement. 
It may be mentioned that in mediceval writers both the city Paris and the district are 
given in Latin as " Parisius " {indccl.). 

7 See Merivale, VI. ch. 58. 

62 ROADS TO THE NORTH [a.d. 70-75 

against the Brigantes, and at the end of three years, and after much 
righting, great part of their territory was subdued. This is 

Th Subdued teS a11 tnat we are told > the nistorian bein g chiefly concerned to 
record that much of the credit was due to his future father- 
in-law, Agricola, who was in command of the 20th Legion. 

To this period we must attribute the construction of the two military 
highways, which, starting the one from Lincoln and the other from 
Chester, the headquarters of two legions, and passing re- 
R °North the sp^ctively through Doncaster (Danum) and Manchester {Man- 
cunium) unite at Castleford (Legeo/ium or Lagecium) to 
advance upon York (Eboracum). Thirteen miles further on we come to 
Tadcaster, another name that speaks for itself, and beyond that again at 
Street Houses, within six miles of the doomed capital of the Brigantes, 
we have a formidable entrenched camp of fifty acres. 1 

In the year 75 2 Sextus Julius Frontinus, the writer on the art of war, 3 

assumed the command in Britain ; his attention was directed to South 

Wales and by him the spirited Silures were at last reduced; 4 

but to retain the hold gained on them the 2nd Legion had 

to be kept at [sea, Caerleon 5 -upon-Usk. 

Appendix to Chapter IV. 

Forts of Ostorins Scapula. 

A chain of camps and detached forts seems fairly traceable from the Nen to the 
Warwickshire Avon and the Severn, though we do not venture to pronounce the whole 
the work of Ostorius. Beginning at Water Newton {Durobrivce) we have a clear Roman 
camp on the Ermine Street, with Castor, and perhaps another camp, on the other side 
of the river. Passing up the Nen and entering Northamptonshire, we have at Barnwell 
Castle, and again at Titchmarsh, square earthworks, near water, which might have had 
their origin in small Roman forts. Between Great Addington and Stanwick there is a 
camp, Cotton Camp, not very well defined, but apparently not Celtic. At Higham 
Ferrers again, the castle might mark the site of another outpost. The name Irchester 
speaks for itself, and there, sure enough, we have a well-defined rectangular camp on 
the road from Higham Ferrers to Wellingborough ; the road also being claimed as 
Roman work. 6 Passing the town of Northampton, and holding westwards across the 
Watling Street, we have, three-quarters of a mile north of Farthingstone, a small, but 
well-defined rectangular camp. To the south of this we have Towcester (Laclodorum), 
but our line should run to Arbury Hill, where we have a camp, tolerably well defined, 

1 See Roy, Military Antiq. He gives the internal area of the camp as 600 yards x 
400 yards. Of somewhat later date might be the smaller camps on Pickering Moor 
between York and Whitby, evidently utilised in the reduction of the North Riding. 
Id., Plate XL. 

2 So Mr. Petrie, M.H.B. 

3 For his Strategematicon Libri, see Smith's Diet, of Biography. 

4 Tacit., Agric, 8, 17. 

5 I.e., " the city of the Legion." 

<; So Mr. Hughes' map of Roman Britain, in the M.H.B. 


with a wavy outline, no doubt, but still rectangular in its general plan. West of 
Arbury Hill and Harbury, we come to Chesterton, and with it to a well-preserved 
rectangular camp, on the Foss Way, within three or four miles of the Avon. After this, 
there seems to be no camp short of Gloucester (G/evum), but, on the left bank of the 
Avon, we have at Lower Milcote, opposite Luddington, and again at Holm Castle and 
the so-called Margaret's camp near Tewkesbury, opposite the fords of the Severn, small 
rectangular earthworks, which may have had a Roman origin. By whomsoever the 
" Margaret's camp " may have been constructed, it was assuredly not constructed by 
Margaret of Anjou, on the eve of the battle of Tewkesbury. 1 At Hoptons Gorse, north 
of Overbury Park, we have a camp, but as the defences are concentric, we cannot call 
it Roman. Lastly, on the right bank of the river Avon, we notice, at Lower Fulbrook 
and Salford Hall, small square moats and earthworks ; but these hardly come within 
our line. 

Running south from Water Newton we have another line of posts at Godmanchester 
{Durolipons), Cambridge {Camboricum), and Chesterford (near Saffron Walden) ; the 
camp at Cambridge (west side of the Cam) being flanked by outposts at Grantchester 
and Chesterton. These stations must have been intended to keep the Iceni in check, 
but whether established before or after the first rising of the Iceni we would not say. 

1 See Lancaster and York, II. 377. 



Final Reduction of the Ordovices — Reforms in the Administration — Prosecution of the 
Conquest ; the Roman Dominion carried to the line of the Cheviots, and from 
thence to the Forth and Clyde — Attack on the Caledonians — Battle of the Mom 
Groupius — Recall of Agricola 

IN the year 78 the province changed hands, Frontinus retiring in favour 
of Cnseus Julius Agricola, who now came back to Britain for the third 
time. 1 

Summer was waning when the new Profircetor appeared, and the soldiers 
were beginning to think of winter quarters. With most governors a state 

progress to inaugurate his rule would have been thought 

enough. But Agricola saw that there was work to be done, 
and he lost no time in doing it. The Ordovices of North Wales were still 
not only independent but aggressive, and had recently destroyed a wing 
of horse stationed on their borders. Agricola led his forces against them, 
wasting their land with fire and sword, till he found himself again on the 
shores of the Menai. Mona had been left to itself since the time of Paul- 
linus ; but Agricola was determined to make an end of independence in 
the West. The islanders at first, seeing that he had no vessels, thought 
themselves safe. They were quickly undeceived ; the auxiliary cavalry, 
" probably natives of the low country near the mouth of the Rhine, sud- 
denly plunged into the channel and swam safely across." The natives 
then begged for peace and surrendered their island. 2 

But Agricola was not only an able general, but also a wise and con- 
siderate administrator. He knew what the wants of Britain were. He 

had seen the trouble caused to his predecessors by the mis- 
fiv^Eeform. conduct of " subordinates ; he sympathised with the subject 

population in the hardships they had to endure. Thus we are 
told that the natives being bound to supply corn for the troops might be 
compelled to buy it from the officials, at prices fixed by them of course ; 

1 Agricola had served his noviciate in arms under Suetonius, whose tent he had been 
allowed to share (a. d. 60). Tacitus, Agricola, c. 5. He left Britain before 63 to go 
through a round of offices. In 70 he was appointed by Vespasian to command the 20th 
Legion in Britain. In 74 he was set over the Province of Aquitania ; in 77 he was 
elected consul, and in 78 returned to Britain as Legate and Propraetor. (Smith). 

2 Agricola,, 18. Rhys, C.B., 86. 



or again they might be required to deliver the corn, not at the nearest 
camp, but at some remote spot, where it was not wanted ; to force them 
to pay for leave to deliver it where it was wanted. 1 Agricola endeavoured 
to check these evils — inherent to proconsular government — by keeping 
strict order in his own household j a by establishing assessments to equalize 
burdens ; ;i and by taking great care in his choice of officials. 

But with the return of summer (a.d. 79) Agricola was again in the field, 4 
completing the reduction of the Northern parts of modern England. The 
Subjugation special reference to ' estuaries ' explored by him points to 
of the operations on the West Coast j but the future course of events 
implies the complete subjugation of the country from sea to 
sea up to the line of the Cheviots. We are told that Agricola took his 
measures so judiciously and systematically that whole districts {civitates) 
which till then had retained independent positions gave hostages and sub- 
mitted. The establishment of garrisons and outposts 5 seemed to clench 
the work. 

The son-in-law and biographer of Agricola would have us to believe 
that the work had been done once and for all ; but subsequent events 
proved that his view of the situation was to say the least of it sanguine. 
Among the garrisons established may have been Coccium (Ribchester on 
the Ribble) ; Longovicum (Lancaster) ; Litguvallium (Carlisle). To this 
period probably should also be ascribed the camp at Vindolana 
and Roads (Chesterholm) and other fortifications on the well-known 
strategic line between the Solway and the Tyne, but not form- 
ing part and parcel of the celebrated vallum and wall, of which we shall 
shortly hear. If so the expediency of fortifying this line would have been 
first suggested by Agricola. About this time also the head-quarters of the 9th 
Legion must have been removed to York, its place at Lincoln being taken 
by the 2nd Adjutrixf a legion sent over to reinforce Agricola. But garri- 
sons and outposts imply military ways ; and in that department too the 
hand of Agricola may be traced to this day. The building of forts at 
Carlisle and Lancaster involved the formation of a road connecting them 
with Manchester (Mancunium) and Chester (Deva). So again by this 

1 " Namque per ludibrium adsidere clausis horreis et emere ultro frumenta ac ludere 
pretio cogebantur : devortia itinerum et longinquitas regionum indicebatur, ut civitates a 
proximis hibernis in remota et avia deferrent, donee quod omnibus impromptu erat 
paucis lucrosum fieret." Agric.,c. 19. For similar practices conf. Cicero, Verres III. 82. 
Above "horreis " seems to refer to the public granaries : for " ludere " F. C. Wex sug- 
gests " luere " : the common " vendere " is another conjecture. 

2 " Familia." 

3 ".Equalitate munerum." 

4 The dates must again be given with some reservation. 

5 " Prcesidiis et castellis." Agricola, c. 20. 

G On this see Hiibner, 549, 540. Josephus speaks of four legions in Britain at this 
time. lb. and M. H. B.,xxxv. After the recall of Agricola the 2nd Adjutrix was prob- 
ably sent to Pannonia. Mommsen, v. 16S. 

R.H. F 

66 ADVANCE [a.d. 80 

time the great North road (the Watling Street) must have been pushed on 
from York (Eboracuiii) through Aldborough (Isuriuni) 1 to Catterick on 
Swale (Cataractonum). At that point the highway forked, one branch 
continuing northwards to the Cheviots, while the other made westwards 
over Stainmore to Carlisle. The construction of these extensions with 
their concomitant camps and forts, many of them traceable to the present 
day, may be fairly ascribed to this summer. On the western branch we 
have camps of 18 acres or 19 acres at Rey Cross on Stainmore, and Powis 
House on Crackenthorpe Common ; with Brocavium (Brougham Castle), 
and Voreda either at Plumpton Hall or old Penrith, on the way to Carlisle. 
On the Eastern branch beyond Catterick, we have Vinovia (Binchester) 
Vindomora (Ebchester) and Corstorpitum (Corbridge or Corchester). As- 
cending the North Tyne and entering Redesdale we have on the same 
"Watling Street" a series of camps and works, large and small, at short 
intervals, leading up to Chew Green on the Border line. 2 As a whole 
they suggest the advance of an army or armies pushed forward through 
a difficult country by successive detachments. 

Having thus made himself master of Britain south of the Cheviots, 
Agricola in the summer of the year 80 broke into fresh ground, 3 attacking the 

. . . country North of the Border. In the course of three years he 

crosses the overran and reduced to some sort of subjection the whole of 
Cheviots. the country up t0 the ljne of the Forth and Clyde# His 

biographer's account of the operations, the only account that we have, may be 
given in few words. In the first summer 4 the Legate made his way to an 
estuary called the " TanausT 5 For this some would read " Taus" \ an 
unfortunate suggestion, as Agricola clearly did not pass the Forth till two sum- 
mers later. We are told that in the first campaign the Romans had little 
fighting to do, but that they suffered a good deal from the weather. As 
Agricola meant to retain what he conquered, we hear that garrisons were es- 
tablished in the country, with supplies to carry them over the winter. The 

next summer was employed in securing the country previously 
t5e U NorS. overrun ; 6 ancl tne Roman frontier was pushed up to the line 

of two remarkable firths, " Clota " and " Bodotria," of which we 
are told that, running towards one another from seas far apart, they almost 
cut off the inhabitants of the rest of the island. 7 Here, without doubt, we 

1 Otherwise Isubrigantum. For these and other places see the so-called Antonine 
Itinerary, Ptolemy, etc., M. H. B., x. xx. etc. Also the very useful Index Geographi- 
cus in Mr. C. Pearson's Historical Maps. 

2 See the 6-inch Ordnance maps, the best of existing guides to Roman remains. 

3 " Novas gentes aperuit." 

4 Tacitus, beginning with the year 78, that of the Conquest of Anglesey, reckons 80 as 
the third year of ' expeditions,' but the first of the expeditions into our Scotland. 

5 So F. C. Wex and the best MSS. 

6 " Quarta cestas obtinendis quae percurrerat insumpta." 

7 * 4 Summotis velut in aliam insulam hostibus." 


have the Forth and Clyde, described in words that cannot be mistaken. 
The isthmus between the two was at once secured by a chain of forts, 
many of them traceable to the present day. 1 Lastly in the third summer 
Agricola took ship, and, landing on the coast facing Ireland, reduced the 
western tribes, but not without a good deal of fighting.- 

Archaeological research may help us to expand this very meagre sum- 

For his advance across the Cheviots the Proprietor had before him the 
choice of the two ways : either that by Chew Green or that by Carlisle. 
Roman roads lead northwards from both. On Pennymuir Rigg, four miles 

from Chew Green, we have a large camp of 39 acres. From 
E ^out°e aSt thence the road advances in a pretty straight line to St. 

Boswell's, at the foot of the Eildon Hills, which must be the 
Trimoiitium of Ptolemy. 3 Ascending Lauderdale, at Channel Kirk, some 
five miles beyond Lauder, there was still distinguishable in the last century 
the outline of a camp of 50 acres. 4 From Channel Kirk the later road 
continued by Fala and Path Head to Inveresk, an undoubted Roman 
station, and in their days a seaside place, but now left inland by the retreat 
of the waters. At the same time it is quite possible that from Fala 
Agricola may have descended the Tyne water to its mouth, which would be 
just the Tanaus described as an 'estuary,' 5 not a large estuary certainly, 
but still to this day a snug land-locked harbour, navigable for two miles, 
which must have been amply sufficient for Roman shipping. But the 
brief record of Tacitus does not oblige us to arrest the Roman progress of 
the years at Tyningham. Having effected a junction with his fleet, the 
Legate would assuredly take it and his army round to the Forth. 

On the western road between Carlisle and Carstairs we have first at 
Netherby the well-known station " Castra Exploratorum " : then, 15 miles 

on, we have at Birrens the camp of " Blatum Bulgium" after- 
^Routef* war ^ s the frontier outpost of the Roman empire. 6 Further 

stages of 7 miles and 12 miles respectively, bring us to large 
camps of 50 acres each at Torwood Moor near Lockerby, and Tassiesholm, 
approaching Moffat. At Thankerton a road branches off to Lanark, with 

1 "Pnesidiis firmabatur." Agricola's forts, as we shall see, were subsequently joined 
by a continuous vallum or rampart running from firth to firth. General Roy has pre- 
served plans of the ten western forts, being about half the original number, namely, 
Duntocher, Castle Hill, East Kilpatrick, Bemulie, Kirkintilloch, Auchindavy, Bar Hill, 
Westerwood, Castle Cary, and Rough Castle. They stand on excellent sites at intervals 
°f I i~S niiles. See Roy and his plans, also given in R. Stuart's Caledonia Romana. 

2 Tacit., Agricola, 22, 23, 24. 

3 The three peaks of the Eildons are quite unique — there is no other such trimontitun 
in all Scotland. For a Roman altar found in the neighbourhood, see Stuart, sup., 50. 

4 Roy, Military Antiquities, p. 61 and plate VI. 

5 " yEstuario nomen est." 

* For " finds " in this neighbourhood, see Stuart, Caled. Row., 123-130. 

68 STAGES [a.d. 80-82 

a Roman camp and a " Chesterhill " two miles on, and close to the modern 
railway. At Castledykes, one mile to the South of Carstairs, we have a 
small camp ; 1 and, three miles to the west of that place, a large one on the 

Mouse river between Cleghorn and Stobbielee. 2 From Castledykes Roman 

roads struck westward to Glasgow and Paisley ; Northwards to Castle 

Cary ; and possibly Eastwards to Cramond, Leith or Inveresk.* 

bably taken. All this indicates a careful scheme of subjugation. We may 
be tempted to ask did Agricola in the first instance advance 
by the Western or by the Eastern route ? It has been suggested that ,he 
advanced in two columns by both. 4 1 

In answer to this we may point out in the first place that the biographei 's 
narrative suggests nothing of the sort, and in the second place that a 
simultaneous advance along the two lines would imply a force of 20,000 
men at least, as the larger camps on each route appear to .have been 

Garrison of mten ded f° r IO >° 00 m en or 11,000 men each. 5 Now Agricola 
Great had just four legions to draw upon, with probably an equal 
n am. f orce f auxiliaries or 40,000 men, all told. <; It is im- 
possible to believe that he could denude Britain of half its garrison for 
this distant expedition. In his great battle with the ' Caledonians ' we 
shall find him in command of 8,000 auxiliary foot, with a force of legion- 
aries to all appearance considerably less, say 12,000 or 13,000 foot in all. 
For that battle every available man had been brought forward ; and the 
development of the conquest would of itself lead to an increase in the 
number of men in the field. We may therefore fairly conjecture that 
Agricola began with 10,000 men to 12,000 men, the major part being 
auxiliaries ; and so that he advanced by one route at a time. The expedi- 
ency of leaving legionaries rather than auxiliaries to garrison a newly- 
conquered country was illustrated by an occurrence of the year 83, when a 

1 See /it., 139. 

2 See Roy., sup., and plates, also Stuart, Caledonia Romana and the Ordnance 
maps. It is a curious circumstance that on both roads there should be an interval of 
some 40 miles without a camp, namely, between Pennymuir and Channel Kirk on the 
East road, and between Tassiesholm and Cleghorn on the West road. 

3 See Stuart, 154, 162. 4 So Roy. 

5 So Roy, 61. Of the camps in Gaul which have been identified as the work of Caesar, 
there are three with respect to which he gives us the number of legions for which they 
were constructed, viz., those at Mauchamp on the Aisne ; Gergovia ; and Mont St. Pierre. 
The areas of these give either 14^ or 154 acres per legion. See Histoire de Cesar, Plates, 
9,21, 29 and 30, and II. 328 ; Caesar, B. G., II. 16-19; VII. 34, 40; VIII. 5-17. If 45 
acres were enough for thi - ee of Caesar's legions at 3,500 men each, 50 acres would be 
more than enough for two of Agricola's legions at 5,000 men each. But he probably 
had an extra amount of supplies with him. 

G The legion of this period is usually estimated at 5,000 men : see Mommsen, V. 173. 
HL'ibner places it at 6,000 men, sup., 521. For an elaborate investigation of the auxiliary 
troops in Britain see Hiibner, 556-581. He places the total at about 25,000 men, about 
the same as his four legions. Mommsen estimates their number after the withdrawal of 
one legion by Domitian at 15,000 men, equivalent to his three legions, sup. 

> Castra Exjdoratarum 

i Ln£uvalli uin 


IN THE YEARS A.B. 80 * 81 
?.-n£. Miles 

Vol. I to faa& J>ag& 68 

W i II Jojiutoji Edinburgh ! 

a.d. 80-82] OF CONQUEST 69 

cohort of Usipii just brought over from Germany to Britain, mutinied, 
killed their Roman officers and then took to the sea in vain hope of 
making their way back to their fatherland. 1 

From the number of camps on the western road antiquarians have 
inclined to the view that Agricoia made his first advance along that line. 
But the words of Tacitus suggest a development of conquest by stages 
from East to West and again by the east route — the route taken by almost 
all later invaders of Scotland from the South — Agricoia would have a much 
shorter journey to the Forth, which must have been his objective from the 
first. Lastly, by that route he would bring himself much sooner into com- 
munication with his fleet, an auxiliary arm which we are told he was the first 
to bring into use. 2 We have already pointed out that the Tyne water 
would answer to the Tanaus of the historian. But as we are told that the 
work of castle-building began that summer, and there seem to be none in 
our East Lothian, we must suppose that Agricoia pushed on at once to 
Cramond, three miles beyond the site of the modern Edinburgh, perhaps 
to Bridgeness, also on the Forth, where his line of forts across the isthmus 
was made to begin. 3 

For the operations of the third summer it is clear that Agricoia took the 
westermost district of all, that in sight of Ireland. Roman camps have 
Operations ^ een trace( ^ near tne modern town of Kirkcudbright. This 
of the Third suggests that Agricoia crossed the Solvvay, landed near Kirkcud- 
ummer. brjg]-^ anc j t h en fought his way along the valleys of the Dee 
and Ken to Ayr, advancing thence to Paisley and Glasgow. 4 The re- 
corded resistance of the tribes 5 would be quite in accordance with the 
later history of the Galloway Picts, a very fighting race. It would seem 
that Agricoia even established some outposts on the west coast, in view, 
we are told, of a possible invasion of Hibernia. He did not form a high 
estimate of the military resources of the sister island. The information 
that he had gathered led him to express a confident belief that one legion 
and a moderate force of auxiliaries would suffice to conquer and hold 
Erin. 7 

Thus by the end of the year 82 Agricoia had fairly executed his plan of 

1 Tacit., Agric, 28. 2 Agricoia, 25. 

3 If " Tan "or " Tana " represents a Celtic name for water, it may be that we have in 
"Tanaus" the earliest form of the well-known later "Scots Water," i.e. the Forth, 
Merivale, VII. 84. 

4 Roy thinks that Agricoia sailed down the Clyde to the coasts of our Renfrew and 
Ayr. Mr. W. F. Skene would take him across the Clyde to Argyllshire ; but that 
would be a useless step, and outside the scope of Agricola's plan, which clearly was to 
keep to the line of the Forth and Clyde, if possible. 

5 "Crebris simul ac prosperis prceliis domuit." Agric, 24. 

6 "Eamque partem Britanniae quce Hiberniam aspicit copiis instruxit," etc. lb. 

7 " Soepe ex eo audivi legione una et modicis auxiliis debellari obtinerique Hiberniam 
posse." lb. 

7 o FROM THE FORTH [a.d. 83 

extension. He had pushed the limits of the Roman Empire to the scientific 

frontier of the Forth and Clyde. But like other conquerors he 
"Frontier? foun d it difficult to stop. All the elements of resistance were 

gathered on the Northern hills, ready to fall on his scientific 
frontier ; and the frontier might require a costly army to defend it. The 
Legate, therefore, resolved to push a further series of inroads to weaken 
and terrify the hostile natives ; another defensive operation to be conducted 
by offensive means. 

With the summer of S3, and his sixth year of office, Agricola drew the 
sword against the tribes on the further side of the Forth, 1 exploring their 

coasts and harbours, with the aid of his fleet. The fleet 
navigated 1 a l wavs made a great impression on the natives. The naval 

and military forces worked so well together that one camp 
often served for both. This points unmistakably to operations round the 
coast of our Fife, where we have a series of ports and landing-places, from 
North Queen's Ferry to Abernethy. 2 Having, as we may suppose, reached 
he banks of the Tay, the army began to be disquieted by rumours of 
attacks on their base of operations by the tribes from the North, 'the men 
of Caledonia? 3 Agricola was urged to withdraw behind the Forth, and 
apparently started to do so, marching in three columns. The result was 
that the natives made a night attack on the camp of the 9th Legion, the 
weakest part of his force. The outer lines of defence were overpowered, 
and the assailants had actually penetrated the camp, when Agricola 
hastened up at daybreak and rescued his men. The soldiers now were all 

for a march into Caledonia.^ Their leader gave in to the plan, 
fheForth but apparently deferred its execution till the next season, 

returning for winter quarters to Lothian. 5 

1 "/Estate qua sextum officii annum inchoabat amplexus civitates trans Bodotriam 
sitas," etc. 

2 Roman remains are scarce in Fife, as Agricola did not intend to annex it ; but one 
strong castellum existed at Lochore, two miles to the south of Loch Leven, in the heart 
of the country. Camps at Carnoch and Tulliebole have been spoken of. Stuart, 216, 241. 

3 " Caledoniam habitantespopuli." Agric, 25. Caledonia " was probably a word like 
Britannia, made by the Romans, while the native term may be supposed to have been 
Calido, genitive Calidinos, whence ' Caildenn ' in ' Dunchailden ' or Dunkeld. In 
early Brythonic (British), the word would be Calido, genitive Calidonos, now Celyddon 
as in Coed Celyddon, the Caledonian Forest." Rhys, C. B., 279. Ptolemy agrees with 
Tacitus in placing this forest North of the Forth ; but the Silva Caledonia of Pliny, which 
had been revealed for thirty years by the Roman arms, must be placed further south, as 
he died in 79. M. H. B., viii. So also must the Coed Celyddon of Nennius, the 
Welsh writer of the 9th century. In later ages the one and only great Forest of Scotland 
known either to native records or the outer world was the Forest of Ettrick Selkirk and 
Teviotdale, but the name, as implying woodlands, would be applicable to almost any 
part of our Scotland in old times. 

4 "Penetrandum Caledoniam." The words imply that the army had not yet pene- 
trated that region. 

5 Agricola, 25, 26, 27. Tacitus has no break here, and no mention of winter quarters ; 

A.D. 84] TO THE TAY 71 

To the year 84 therefore we must refer the attack on the country North 

of the Ochils ; and the construction of the roads and camps in Strathallan, 

Strathearn, and the basin of the Tay which have attracted so 

Ca <>f P 8<L° n mucn attention. Every available man must have been brought 

into the field, including British auxiliaries ; l while the fleet was 

sent on to await the arrival of the legions, as we believe, at Perth, the 

highest point on the Tay reached by the tide. 2 

The work of road-making was probably begun early in the season, if 
not in the previous year. From the frontier line near Falkirk, we have 
a military way (in places obliterated) crossing the river Forth, near Stirling ; 
and then advancing through Ardoch (Lindum), Strageath, Gask, Dupplin, and 
Cherrybank into Perth. The latter part of the road is still in use. After 
Perth it disappears for" a bit ; but it is believed to have followed the right 
bank of the Tay up to the confluence of the Almond, where it crossed the 
Tay by a ford, continuing thence along the left bank to Lintrose and 
Coupar Angus. 3 The extension of the road beyond Coupar Angus may be 
ascribed to a later period. 

From the frontier line to Coupar Angus the road is studded with 

Roman stations, large and small. At Ardoch, 20 miles from the frontier, 

m , we have three distinct works : first a huge camp of 1 2 1 acres : 

Works at . . 

Ardoch. this may be left to be noticed hereafter in connection with 

"Lindum. a ser [ es f cam ps of similar dimensions leading into Aberdeen- 
shire ; a district never penetrated by Agricola. Secondly at Ardoch we 
have a camp of 50 acres similar to those we have already noticed ; and 
thirdly an impregnable fastness or castelhim of 4 acres girt by as many as 
five and six concentric rows of ramparts and ditches, with an entrenched 
annex or procestrium of 27 acres, 4 probably intended for animals, as the 

but as he makes Agricola refer to the ensuing campaign as falling in the eighth year ; 
and to the attack on the 9th Legion as having happened in the preceding year (anno 
proximo), cc. 33, 34, I agree with Mr, Skene that a new year must begin with chapter 
29. Celtic Scotland, I. 51. But I think that the words "prcemissa classe " negative his 
view that Agricola wintered near Perth. How could the fleet be sent on in advance if 
the army was there before it ? and when would the works in Strathallan and Strathearn 
have been executed if Agricola never made an advance along that route ? 

1 " Ex Britannis fortissimos." Agric.,29. 

8 Perth has not been generally held a Roman post ; but the whole plan of the central 
part of the city stamps it as such. It would have no attractions as a site for a Celtic fort, 
being situated in a plain. If Agricola had his magazines there, it should be the Orrea of 
Ptolemy. Not a vestige of Roman work has ever been discovered at Bertha at the 
junction of the Almond and Tay, the place usually identified with Orrea. 

3 See the 6-inch ordnance map for the track of the road. The mistaken notion that 
the road avoided Perth, and made for Bertha at the mouth of the Almond, may be due 
to the spurious Itinerary of Richard of Cirencester, a forgery of the last century, which 
has taken in Roy, Stuart, and others. The road evidently came down from Cherrybank 
with a sweep straight into South Street, Perth. See Roy's MS. map of Scotland in 
the British Museum. 

4 See the plans in Roy copied by Stuart. PI. V. The castelhim was intended for a 


FROM PERTH [a.d. 84- 

ground even at this day is swampy. The second and perhaps the third 
of these works may be attributed to Agricola. 

At Comrie, some eight miles to the West of Ardoch, but without any 
traceable Roman road to connect them, there are, or rather used to be, a 
pair of linked camps, together containing about 22 acres. 1 
Between Ardoch and Perth (20 miles) the stations are of a 
minor character; but the nucleus of Perth would suggest a camp of 41 
acres. 2 Beyond Perth we have at "Grassy Walls " (properly Gray's Wells), 
near Scone Palace, a camp of the larger series ; but a little further on, at 
Lintrose and Coupar Angus, 12 and 13 miles from Perth, we 
Angus" come i0 adjacent camps of 50 and 34 acres ; while lastly, cross- 
ing the Isla, and ascending the left bank of the Tay, towards 
Dunkeld, we have at Delvine, some seven miles to the North, a camp of 52 
Deivine acres > t0 sav nothing of more doubtful relics at Meikleour, be- 
tween Coupar and Delvine. 3 It is clear that we have here 
indications of important operations which must be connected either with 
Agricola or Septimius Severus. But the operations of Septimius seem dis- 
tinctly to connect themselves with the series of larger camps to which we 
have referred ; the minor series, therefore, ought to be ascribed to Agricola. 
Our view is that in this year he advanced from Ardoch to Perth, from 
Perth to Coupar Angus, and from Coupar Angus to Delvine. 

The Picts had been preparing for two years at least ; and Agricola was 

pressing forward to challenge them to action. We are told that he found 

them at last, gathered in their thousands, under the leadership of one 

Galgacus, or Calgacos, 4 on the slopes of a hill, to which Tacitus apparently 

gives the name of Mons Groupius, transformed by editors into Grampins. b 

The name cannot be identified ; but as we are told that after 

Groupius. ^ ie battle Agricola turned homewards without attempting any 

further advance, it is clear that the battlefield must be placed 

permanent station, and a monument to a Spanish auxiliary has been found there. The 
ramparts and ditches alternate in size on a very scientific plan, and in places are 60 yards 
wide in section. 

1 These linked camps are noticeable at other places within the sphere of Agricola's 
operations, as on Pickering Moor, and at High Rochester. Roy notices a curious re- 
semblance between the traverses of the gates in the Pickering and Comrie camps, p. 65. 
The former must belong to the days of Agricola's military career, if not of his governor- 

2 I take the dimensions of the town as it was in 1750, surrounded with watercourses, 
and comprised within Canal St., Methven St., and Mill St., about 500 yds. by 400 yds. 
See General Roy's MS. map of Scotland in the British Museum. Perth is perhaps the 
best preserved Roman camp in Britain. 

3 See the plates in Roy ; also Stuart, 196, 200, 207. 

4 See Rhys, Celtic Britain^ p. 279. 

5 See the edition of the Agricola by F. C.Wex, Brunswick, 1852. The name "Gram- 
pian " is unknown to native literature and records ; its modern use is a mere classical re- 
importation from the pages of Tacitus. We may take it however that the name was that 
of a group of hills rather than that of one single elevation. 

a.i,. S 4 ] TO DELVINE 73 

at the farthest point to which his works seem to extend, namely, Delvine. 1 

As a trysting-place for a gathering of Highland clans on a large scale, no 

spot could be more suitable than Dunkeld : and a short ad- 

vance from Dunkeld would bring the tribes to the slopes of a 

group of little hills, the natural outworks of the position at Dunkeld, with 
spurs coming down close to Agricola's camp at Delvine. 2 

By following the left bank of the Tay round by Coupar Angus, instead 
of marching direct from Perth to Dunkeld, Agricola had obviated the risk 
of crossing the Tay in front of the enemy. His camp at Del- 
Battlefield vme was P lacec * on a remarkable site, a bluff or plateau, rising 
abruptly on all sides to a height of 40 feet to 60 feet above 
the surrounding plain. The Tay flows along the south side of it, and at 
one time must have encircled it with an arm, of which detached portions 
still remain. To the North the arena is enclosed by sloping hills. 3 

In honour of the great battle that ensued, Tacitus has composed 
speeches for the two leaders. These addresses, besides enriching the 
s . literature of the world with some immortal phrases, 4 have 
handed down some facts of historical interest. Chief of these 
is another enumeration of the burdens entailed upon natives by the Roman 
occupation, namely, for the young men conscription for service in distant 
lands ; for those who stayed at home heavy taxation in money and kind, 
and forced labour on camps, and roads, and mines. 5 

The Picts, estimated at the large figure of 30,000 men, were marshalled 

on the slopes of the hills, the front rank occupying level ground at the 

foot, the rear ranks rising in tiers, one behind another; an 

tiieArmfes. imposing sight; while chariots and horsemen scoured the 


According to our theory the bold spur of the Redgole Braes was the 

central point of the native position, lower ground running backwards on 

either side, a circumstance which will be found to fit in singularly with the 

description of the action. Agricola placed his auxiliary infantry, evidently 

the larger part of his force and given as 8,000 strong, in the front line ; 

1 This consideration seems to exclude the Ardoch and Comrie sites for which Chalmers 
and Gordon contended. Roy, taking the series of larger camps as the work of Agricola, 
placed the field near Stonehaven, though the series extends beyond that point. To Mr. 
W. F. Skene is due the credit of having called attention to the claims of the neighbour- 
hood of Blairgowrie, already suggested in the Old Statistical Account of the parish of 
Bendochy. Celtic Scotland, I. 53, 54. 

2 I reject Mr. Skene's theoiy of the battle as fought between Meikleour and Blair- 
gowrie on account of the Lunan Burn, and the chain of lakes cutting off access between 
these two points. The action as described by Tacitus could not possibly have been 
fought on that ground. The name Dunkeld, earlier Duncaildenn, Dunchailden, seems 
to give the Gaelic form of the root of Caledonii. Rhys, C. B., 279. 

3 See map. The west side, and part of the east side of the camp appear not to have 
been finished, — as if the work had been interrupted by some sudden emergency. 

4 E. g. " Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant," c. 30. 5 Agricola, 31, 32. 

74 BATTLE OF [a.d. 84 

with 3,000 horse on the wings ; the legionaries being drawn up as a 
reserve force in front of the entrenched camp; 1 a fact which limits us in 
our search for a battlefield to a site in the neighbourhood of some camp. 
Advancing to give battle Agricola found himself in danger of being out- 
flanked, and was obliged to extend his front at the risk of weakening it. 
The auxiliaries called out for the legionaries to be brought into line. But 
Agricola was resolved to shed no drop of Roman blood that he could 
help ; and so, keeping the legionaries still in reserve on the high ground 
in his rear, took his own place on foot in the front line with the standards. 2 
On this occasion we hear of no headlong Celtic rush, but we are told 
that the natives did well enough as long as they were allowed to keep at 

rt- . w arm's length, with room to wield their broadswords and 
The Action, ° ' 

" dodge " the pilum with their targets 3 and the help of their 
own bodily activity. Agricola then ordered his Batavian and Tungrian 
cohorts, being probably on the right or upper flank, to charge in line, 
pushing the enemy bodily backwards with their wall of locked shields. In 
this trial of strength the Romans could stab at the enemies' faces with 
their short dagger-swords, while the natives could make little use of their 
long pointless weapons. The movement was successful, and, the rest of 
the Roman line joining in, the Picts were driven back to the fort of the 
higher ground. Their rear divisions now judging it time to intervene, 
began to pour down the hill, as we suppose on the Roman right, to take 
them in flank and rear. But Agricola was prepared for this, and immedi- 
ately charged them with 1,200 horse that he had kept in hand for an 
emergency. 4 The enemy having been turned and put to flight, the cavalry 
were taken round to the other side, and the operation repeated on the 
other flank, which had now in some measure become the enemy's rear. 5 
But why should the cavalry be brought round by a circuitous route from 
one flank to the other, instead of being allowed to wheel round and take 
the enemy in his ■ proper rear ? Our site explains the manoeuvre. The 
jutting promontory of the Redgole Braes made it impossible for cavalry to 
wheel round the rear of the enemy's position. 

The rout became general ; but an indiscriminate pursuit might have 
involved the victors in ultimate disaster, as the Picts rallied in bands 
in the woods and thickets that skirted the battlefield. The careful 

1 "Legiones pro vallo stetere." For the preponderance of the auxiliaries conf. the 
speech of Calgacos, who is made to deride the Roman army as a motley gathering of 
homeless Germans and Gauls, and renegade Britons. " Aut nulla plerisque patria aut 
alia est," c. 32. 

2 Agricola, c. 35, " dimisso equo pedes ante vexilla constitit." 

3 "Hostibus . . . parva scuta et enormes gladios gerentibus ; nam Britannorum 
gladii sine mucrone ... in arcto pugnam non tolerabant." 

1 " Quatuor equitum alas ad subita belli retentas," c. 37. 

3 " Transvectseque praxepto ducis a fronte pugnantium aloe aversam hostium aciem 
invasere. lb. 



AD. 84- 

Scale of fe Mile 

Voll to f<ue page- 74 

KJolnu^na-riral-Qveli I 

a.d. 84] "MONS GROUPIUS" 75 

Legate, however, kept his men well in hand, scouring every thicket with 
horse and foot. Night put an end to the pursuit. 

the f Hcts f ■ Th e Roman loss was stated at 360 men killed ; that of the 
enemy they were pleased to put at 10,00c 1 From the num- 
bers engaged, if not from the results, the battle was one of importance. 
Agricola must have had 12,000 or 13,000 foot and 3,000 horse. 2 The 
estimate of the native force as double this seems quite borne out by the 
facts of the action. 

When the morrow came silence reigned on hill and dale. Not a native 

could be found ; while columns of smoke showed where they had fired 

their huts and villages in their retreat. Discarding all idea of pursuing an 

impalpable enemy, Agricola turned homewards towards winter quarters, 

The marching by easy stages. To utilise the opportunity he led 

"Boresti" his army through the county of the Boresti, exacting hostages.^ 

attacked. Nq i nd i cation is g i ven us f t ^ e situation of the country in- 
habited by these people, beyond the fact that it must have lain somewhere 
not far from the line of the homeward march. Some would identify the 
land of the Boresti with the later Fothreve, i.e. Kinross. Others connect 
the Boresti with the later Verturiones, the men of Fortrenn or Strathearn. 
In that case the linked Comrie camps would be memorials of this expedi- 
tion. The question is a very open one. 4 If Agricola wished to explore 
fresh regions a peep into Strathearn would present more novelty than a 
march through Fife, which must have been already penetrated. 

The achievements of the year were wound up by the cir- 
Circumnavi- . . . . , J , ...... , 

gationof cumnavigation of Britain by the fleet, which, sailing north- 

Britain wards from the Forth or Tay, doubled the Northern capes, and 
then rounding the Western and Southern coasts, completed the 
circuit by returning to its winter station, apparently in the Humber. 5 The 
Orkneys too were considered to have been discovered on this trip. 

Agricola probably held that a conquest to be profitable must be com- 
plete ; and that the entire subjugation of Britain, possibly of Ireland too, 
would in the end prove economical of men and money. If so his views 

1 lb. 

2 Hubner would give Agricola 15,000 legionaries and 26,000 men in all, p. 546, half 
the entire garrison of Britain, on his own estimate. Is this quite credible ? 

3 Agricola, c. 38. 

4 Fife and Fothreve made up the district between the Tay, the Ochils, and the Forth. 
Chron. Picts and Scots, 136 (Skene). Bor-esti would stand to Fothreve as Bod-otria to 
Forth. The usual "Horesti" seems like "Grampius," an early editorial conjecture. 
Mr. Skene adheres to "Horesti," but takes Agricola through Fife all the same. Mr. 
Rhys would identify " Boresti " with the Verturiones, Celtic Britain, 27 7, 308 ; Chron. 
Picts and Scots, 460. 

5 Agricola, 10, 38. " Portum Trucculensem tenuit unde redierat." The credit of 
having first doubled Cape Wrath however belonged to the mutinous Usipii as pointed 
out by Dion, M.H.B., lix. 

76 END OF AGRICOLA [a.d. 85 

were not adopted by the Imperial Government ; with whom from this 
time non-extension of the frontier in Britain became a settled rule of 
policy. 1 The withdrawal of one of the four legions (the 2nd Adjutrix 2 ) 
gave clear proof of this. 

While Agricola held rule in Britain two emperors passed away ; namely, 
Vespasian, and his elder son Titus. The " timid inhuman Domitian " now 
held sway ; he had no personal prestige of his own to set against that of 
his Legate ; and the crowning victory over Calgacos stood in painful con- 
trast to his own recent failure on the Danube. In 85 Agricola was re- 
called, having in fact held office beyond the usual term. The ' triumphal 
ornaments ' 3 and a statue were decreed to him by the Senate ; but he 
found it prudent to sink promptly into the obscurity of private life. He 
declined an appointment to the government of Asia or Africa; but in spite 
of all his caution his end was attributed to Imperial jealousy. He died 
in the year 93 at the age of fifty-five. 4 

In Britain Agricola's attention had not been wholly engrossed with 
military matters ; he had endeavoured to civilize the natives by training 
them to the use of the Latin tongue, an appreciation of Roman ways, and 
a Roman sense of comfort. He introduced dwelling-houses of a better 
class; he set an example by giving public money for the erection of 
temples and court-houses. "The sons of the chiefs learned to speak 
Latin, affected the use of the toga and began to accustom themselves to 
the bath and banquet." 5 

1 See Mommsen, V. 167, 168, citing Appian, financial officer under Antoninus Pius, 
who pointed out that although they already held the best part of Britain, it yielded 

2 See Hiibner, 540. The legion was probably withdrawn soon after the recall of 

3 "Triumphalia ornamenta." Tacit., Agric, 39, 40 ; Mommsen, sup. 

4 Agricola, 43, 44. Dion, LXVI. 20. Merivale, VI. 177. Smith. 

5 Agric, 21. Pearson, I. 36. 


A.D. 85-360 

Rome on the defensive in Britain — Visits of Hadrian and Septimius Severus — Fortifica- 
tion of Frontiers — Carausius — Allectus — Constantius Chlorus — Changes in the 
Civil and Military Organization of the Empire 

UNDER Agricola the Roman advance in Britain reached its turning 
point. The military history of the rest of the occupation is that of 
struggles to retain what was supposed to have been already won. 

During the next five and thirty years the Roman writers find little to 
boast of in connexion with Britain. We hear of a native chief Arviragus, 
who must have gained a name by giving trouble ; we hear that the 
Brigantes still had strongholds that they could call their own ; 1 we are 
Di _ told, in a word, that the Britons could not be kept down. 2 

anceofthe But the most significant fact is one not recorded on the pages 
9th Legion. Q f history, namely the disappearance of the 9th Legion, the 
York Legion ; presumably used up in petty warfare, perhaps finally over- 
whelmed in some sudden catastrophe. 3 

Under these circumstances the Emperor Hadrian, not long after his 

accession, found it desirable to visit the island in person. 4 To replace 

the 9th Legion he brought with him the 6th Victrix; if it had 

Hadrian not ^ een sent over already ; also Reserve-detachments {vexil- 

larii) from three other Legions, namely the 7th " Gemina" the 

8th "Augusta," and the 22nd "Primigenia." 5 Yet with all this strength 

the Emperor thought contraction of territory the right policy. His stay in 

the Province was distinguished by the construction of the first continuous 

frontier fortification & on the well-known line of the Tyne and Solway, the 

1 See Juvenal, Sat., IV. 126, XIV. 196; M.H.B., xci. Juvenal "floruit circa 

A.D. 90." 

2 " Britanni teneri sub Romana ditione non poterant." (Elius Spartianus, Dc 
Hadriano, c. 5. M.HB., lxiv., "floruit Spartianus exeunte s.ceculo tertio." Conf. 
the diction of Tacitus, "perdomita Britannia et statim missa." Hist., I. 2. 

3 See Hubner, sup., 536, 583 ; Mommsen, V. 171. 

4 CElius Spartianus, c. II ; M.H.B., Ixv. Hadrian succeeded Trajan in 1 17; he 
passed over to Britain in 119; Meriv., VII. 420: " Publius CElius Hadrianus." He 
was cousin to Trajan and married to his niece. Meriv., VII. 412. . . 

5 See Hubner, 546, 583. The 6th Legion was sent at once to York ; the 2nd was still 
at Caerleon, and the 20th at Chester. 

c "Murum per octoginta millia passuum primus duxit, qui barbaros Romanosque 


7 8 THE TYNE-SOLWAY [a.d. 119 

line of the Forth and Clyde being apparently abandoned. The works on 

the Southern isthmus as still traceable consist of a vallum or 

His „ series of earthen ramparts, and of a stone wall with a con- 
" Vallum." . „ _. , l ' ,,1 -ii 

comitant foss or ditch. Ramparts and wall run on practically 

parallel lines, but they are of different lengths, and irregular in their rela- 
tions to one another. Archaeologists have differed and still differ widely 
in their views as to the dates, authorship, and mutual relations of the two 
works, but we hold to the theory that the vallum was the work of Hadrian, 
and that the stone wall must be referred to the later period of the Emperor 
Septimius Severus. The vallum extended from Pons (Elii (Newcastle) to 
Burgh-upon-Sands, a distance of sixty miles English. 1 The work consisted 
of three parallel banks of earth (aggeres) and a central ditch separated by 

level intervals. Two of the banks ran along the South side and one along 
the North side of the ditch. This latter seems to have been "flat- 
bottomed, with sloping sides (angle of 30 ) 15 feet wide at the bottom, 30 
feet wide at the top and 8' feet deep." 2 The aggeres were made of the 
earth dug out of the ditch. The usual width of the work is given as 41 
yards ; 3 but in places it widens out to 70 yards, and for a short distance 
between Birdoswald and Wall Bowers it takes on an extra rampart and 
ditch on the north side, thereby extending its borders to the width of 100 
yards or thereabouts. 

The stone wall was 13 miles longer, beginning at Walls' End (Sege- 
/lunum), and running past Burgh-upon-Sands to Bowness (Glaunibanta* 
or Gabrosenlum 5 ), both on the Solway. The two works for the most part 

divideret." Spartianus, sup. He uses the same word murum of the work ascribed by 
him to Septimius ; but as there was certainly only one wall, the other munis must have 
been a vallum. We shall find the two works perpetually confounded. The length of 
eighty Roman miles however ( = 7Si English miles) given above corresponds with that 
of the stone wall not of the vallum. On the other hand Julius Capitolinus, a writer of 
the same epoch as Spartianus, speaking of the vallum executed in the time of Antoninus 
Pius on the line of Agricola's forts, says: "Alio muro cespiticio submotis barbaris." 
The use of the word "alio" implies that the pre-existing murus, that of Hadrian, was 
also "cespiticius," i.e. earthen. M.H.B. 

1 The Roman name of the station at Burgh has not been clearly fixed. Horsley in his 
Britannia, and Mr. Petrie in the M.H.B., identify it with the Axelodunum of the Notilia 
Utriusque Imperii. The 6-inch Ordnance Survey identifies it with Gabrosentum. 

2 See Transactions Cumberland, etc., Antiquarian Society, 1894, p. 457. 

3 See the Survey of the Roman Wal 'I and the accompanying Memoir executed in 1852- 
1854 by Mr. H. MacLauchlan for the Duke of Northumberland ; also Dr. J. C. Bruce's 
Roman Wall, and the Ordnance Maps. 

4 Ordnance Map. 5 Horsley. 

a.d. ii9] VALLUM AND WALL 79 

keep at a distance of 70 or 100 yards apart, but in places they diverge as 

much as half a mile ; while again in some places they come 
T1 Waii 8r mt0 actua l contact, and there the wall seems to override 

and cut through the vallum, as notably at Wall Bowers where 
the wall distinctly cuts through the extra ditch and rampart above referred 
to. 1 Even if this fact were less clear than it seems to us to be still those 

who hold the vallum to have been constructed either con- 
Authorship? currently with or subsequently to the Wall would have to 

explain why the constructors of the vallum should in those 
places have run it up against the wall in such a way as to interfere with 
the symmetry and utility of their own plan. 2 

In their choice of sites the wall follows the highest and most defen- 
sible ground, the vallum having to be taken along lower ground, where a 
greater depth of soil for banking up would be found. History distinctly 
asserts that one line of fortification, be it wall or vallum, was executed by 
Hadrian, and another by Septimius Severus. Taking our vallum and wall 
to be the two works in question, as they certainly appear to be, we must 
hold that the vallum was the earlier work, and therefore the work of 
Hadrian ; because it seems clear that no men with a stone wall to protect 
them would seek to pile up useless earthworks behind it ; while men who 
had only an earthen rampart to defend them might well seek to supple- 
ment its protection by a bulwark of a stronger kind. As a matter of fact 
the vallum cannot have had any value as a military work. Though 
planned as if to resist attack either from the North or South, with the 
foss in the middle it could easily be stormed from either side. Some go 
so far as to suggest that it was really intended for a mere elaborate limes 
or boundary line, to impress the Barbarians with a sense of the majesty of 
the Roman Empire. 3 

Lastly, in all contemporary records, we find the whole collective forti- 
fication, vallum, wall, and adjuncts, spoken of as the vallum;* a further 
indication that the vallum was the original work. 5 Technically the whole 
fortification was styled a Prcete?itura ; but of this more anon. 

1 In this I have the support of Mr. T. McK. Hughes, Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 

VI. 360. 2 See Append, to this chapter. 

3 So Prof. Mommsen. 

4 So the Antonine Itinerary and the Notitia Utriusque Imperii, M.H.B., xx., xxiv. ; 
and the inscriptions "rebus trans vallum prospere gestis" ; and Genio valii, C.I.L., 

VII. Nos. 886, 940. 

5 As to the date and authorship of the two works, the Rev. J. Hodgson and Dr. J. C. 
Bruce hold that the whole was of one plan, and ascribe the whole to Hadrian, leaving 
nothing but repairs or additions for Septimius. See Hodgson, Northumberland, pt. ii., 
vol. iii. 277 ; Bruce, Roman Wall, and The Roman Wall and Who Built It, passim. 
The strong point in their favour is that no inscriptions to Septimius have been found 
either on wall or vallum, while inscriptions to Hadrian have been found on both. See 
Htibner, C.I.L., VII. Nos. 506, 660-663, 7 J 3> etc - But tne inscriptions say nothing of 
the character of the work they commemorate ; and the stones may easily have been moved 

8o FORTH-CLYDE VALLUM [a.d. 138, 139 

Nothing more is heard of Britain under Hadrian ; but with the acces- 
sion of Titus Antoninus Pius a more active policy was resumed. We 
^^g are told that he deprived the Brigantes of great part of their 
Antoninus territory for attacks upon ' the parts of the Gemini] friendly 
tributaries not heard of elsewhere. 1 At any rate it was 
under Antoninus that the Legate Quintus Lollius Urbicus reasserted and 
strengthened the frontier of Agricola by running another vallum, 2 or 
earthen rampart and ditch, along the line of Agricola's forts, from the old 
coast margin at Bridgeness on the Forth to West Kilpatrick on the Clyde, 
a distance of nearly thirty-seven English or forty Roman miles. The 
rampart and ditch seem to have covered a width of 25 to 30 yards ; the 
ditch being deeper and broader than that of Hadrian's vallum* 
^VaUum 6 " 1 ^ 63 ^ 65 ^ ie nmeteen stations already mentioned the work 
included small watch towers at short intervals ; also a mili- 
tary way running along the back of the vallum.^ The fortification 
followed a well-chosen line of high ground, with lower ground in front 
of it from sea to sea. 

But the weak point of all such works was the numbers of men needed 
to guard them. Six thousand men would not have been too much to hold 
such a frontier. But the entire force in Britain probably did not exceed 
30,000 men. 5 

The amount of control exercised by the Romans over this district 
between the walls is difficult to estimate. The region is not entered in 
the surveys of the Empire. On the other hand we shall find clear proofs 
that, eventually, the language and customs of Rome extended to the 
Clyde. Basda with his usual accuracy seems to solve the difficulty by 

from their original sites. Mr. MacLauchlan's final conclusion is that the wall was later 
than the vallum Memoir, pp. 89-92. Horsley, Roy, and Lingard agree that the vallum 
was the work of Hadrian, the wall of Septimius. Merivale, without ascribing the wall 
to Septimius, rejects the theory that the tsvo works were of one date ; Quarterly Review, 
vol. 107, p. 127. 

1 "TV Tevovvlav fiolpav " ; Pausanias, Gnvxia Descript., VIII. c. 43; M.H.B., L. 
Pausanius wrote 170-180. Rhys suggests that /MoTpa. may represent the Gaelic " ddV 
C.B., 90. Might it not represent the Pictish equivalent Pet? 

2 "Alio cespititio muro ducto," etc. C. Julius Capitolinus ; De Antonino Pio, c. 5 ; 
M.H.B., Ixv. "Floruit Capitolinus sreculo tertio exeunte." 

3 The ditch has been estimated to have been 20 feet deep, and the agger 20 ft. 
high above the level, 40 ft. in all, but this seems excessive. Stuart, 278. Perhaps 
20 feet may have been the height from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the 

4 See Stuart, Caledonia Rotuana, 269 ; and the plans there taken from Roy ; also 
the 6-inch Ordnance Map, and Appendix B to this chapter. The numerous inscriptions 
found show the work to have been done by detachments from the 2nd, 6th, and 20th 
Legions. In later ages the work, like other similar works, was attributed to supernatural 
agency, and so called " Grame's Dyke" (Devil's Dyke). The name is still localised 
near Bridgeness. 

5 Mommsen, V. 173. 

a.d. i6i] TIMES OF TROUBLE Si 

stating that the control beyond the southern vallum was merely political 
(jure dominandi possidebant), as contrasted with the administrative occu- 
pation to the South of it {habitabant). 1 

Britain, however, seems to have given no more trouble under Antoninus 

Pius. The accession of his associated successors Marcus Aurelius and 

Lucius Verus (a.d. i6i) 2 was the signal for an outbreak that was quelled 

by the propraetor-legate Calpurnius Agricola. 3 Marcus Aurelius having 

survived his brother-emperor died in 180; and was succeeded by his son 

Commodus, when a fresh era of disturbance was inaugurated. The 

Northern tribes burst across the vallum of Antoninus, 4 and 

N Ris5^ n committed great depredations, finally overwhelming a Roman 

commander and his army. The war is described as the most 

serious of the reign. 

Ulpius Marcellus, a stern, strict soldier, was then sent out; and he 
eventually expelled the invaders, and gained for his master the surname 
of Britannicus, himself to be disgraced and recalled. 5 The next governor 
mentioned, one Perennis, proved unsuccessful; at any rate in the manage- 
ment of his own troops, who apparently sent a body of 1,500 
^S-oops 18 mut i n eers to Rome to petition against him ; and then, taking 

the law into their own hands, murdered him. 6 

With respect to the difficulty of managing Legions, the reader will bear 

in mind that owing to the cost of transport they were seldom moved; the 

recruits that were sent to them went practically to settle for life : thus the 

Legions became military settlements with strong local connexions and 

interests. The reader will have noticed that the legionaries were reserved 

as much as possible for garrison duty ; the rough work being laid on the 

auxiliary cohorts. Order was eventually restored by P. Helvius 

P^rtSax P ertmax > a distinguished commander, afterwards for three 

months Emperor of Rome. But in Britain he had to fight to 

establish his authority over his own men, and on one occasion, we are 

told, was left for dead on the field. 7 

The next governor on record, and the last appointed by Commodus, 

1 Hist. Ecd.,\. c. n. 

2 Antoninus died in March, 161. Meriv., VII. 518. 

3 Capitolinus; De Marco Antonino, M.H.B., lxv. ; also C.I.L., VII. Nos. 225, 758. 
Calpurnius appears to have been legate a.d. 162-169, Hiibner. It is said that a prefect, 
Statius Priscus, had been offered the Purple by the British legions ; a first attempt at 
independent action ; Meriv., VII. 568. 

4 " to tcixos rb diopifrv avrovs re nai tcltQu 'Pw/tcuW crTpaTOTeda." Dion, apud Xiphil. , 
LXXII. s. 8; M.JJ.£.,]ix.,A.T>. 181. The Northern rampart must be the one referred to. 

5 Dion. ap. Ziphil., sup. For coins of Commodus with the inscription Britannicus, 
see M. H. B., PI. III. 4-7. 

6 Dion., sup., s. 9 ; Capitolinus, De Pertinace, c. 3 ; ^ilius Lampridius, De Commodo, 
c. 6 ; M. H. B., lx., lxv., lxvi. "Floruit Lampridius exeunte sseculo tertio." 

7 Dion. ap. Xiphil., sup., V. 9 ; LXXIII. 4; Capitolinus, sup., c. 2, 3, 4. 
R. H. G 


was Clodius Albinus, and he succeeded only too well in gaining the 
Clodius affections of his men. Commodus, alarmed at the reports 
Albinus. of his attitude, sent to supersede him, but died before the 
order could be executed. 1 Two ephemeral emperors — Pertinax and 
Didius Julianus — were successively set up and deposed by the Praetorian 
Guards, and then three serious candidates were announced as in the field ; 
namely, Septimius Severus in Pannonia, Pescennius Niger in Syria, and 
Clodius Albinus in Britain, each supported by his own Legions. Sep- 
timius deeming Pescennius the more formidable opponent, temporised 
with Albinus, offering him a share of the empire, with the 
"Caesar" secon dary title of Caesar. The offer was accepted, 2 and 
Albinus remained peaceably within his province till Septimius, 
having disposed of Pescennius, declared war against the British Caesar. 
Albinus then, perhaps rashly, cook his forces across the Channel to 
meet Septimius in Gaul; and there he was defeated and killed near 
Lyons. 3 

The attempt of Albinus led to an important change in the adminis- 
tration of Britain. Septimius divided the province into two, 4 
D BrUain 0f an Upper or Northern, and a Lower or Southern Britain. As 
we are told that the 2nd and 20th Legions, quartered at 
Caerleon and Chester, belonged to the Southern province ; while the 6th 
Legion, quartered at York, belonged to the Northern province, 5 it is clear 
that the dividing line must have been drawn from the Mersey to the Humber. 
This subdivision, which was dictated by political and imperial considera- 
tions, left the governor of the Northern province very weak to resist the 
Caledonians, although the bulk of the auxiliaries were assigned to his 
share. Accordingly we hear of the Propraetor Virius Lupus being reduced 
to the miserable expedient of buying peace from the tribes ; and of course 
we are told in the same breath that the tribes soon found excuses for 
breaking their treaty engagements. 6 

It was under these circumstances, apparently, that the provincial autho- 
rities resolved to strengthen their inner frontier by adding a stone wall to 
the vallum of Hadrian, which had proved quite insufficient to keep out 

This implies that the northern rampart, the vallum of Antoninus and 

1 Capitolinus, De Clodio Albino, c. 13, 14. Commodus died in 192. 

2 a.d. 193. Dion-Xiph., LXXIII. 14, 15 ; Herodian, Hist., II. 48. Conf. Spartianus, 
De Sever 0, 6 ; M. H. B., lx., lxii., lxx. 

3 a.d. 197. Herodian, III. 16, 1S-24. M. H. B., lxii. 

4 Herodian, sup., 24. 

5 Mommsen, V. 173, citing Dion. The style of the governors does not seem to have 
been changed. On the inscriptions they still appear as "leg. aug. pr. pr." {legaius 
Augusti pro pratore). So down to the time of Valerianus and Gallienus at any rate, 
a.d. 254-260. 

6 Dion-Xiphil., LXXV., s. 5. M. H. B., lx. 

a.d. 207] THE STONE WALL S$ 

Lollius Urbicus, had already been more or less abandoned. Probably the 
intermediate districts formed a Debatable Land, over which the tide of 
domination ebbed and flowed. 

With respect to the date of the stone wall, inscriptions on the faces 
of old Roman quarries in its immediate neighbourhood show 
T11 Waii 0ne tnat Q uarr y m g on a large scale was going on in the year 207, 
and again in the year 210. 1 


This celebrated wall was held one of the chief glories of the reign of 
Septimius. As already mentioned, it ran from sea to sea, 2 a distance of 
73 \ miles, or 13 miles longer than the contiguous vallum which is ascribed 
by all to Hadrian. The wall was about eight feet thick, and twelve feet 
high without the parapet, which was four feet higher ; 3 it was made of 
concrete, faced with small square blocks of stone, like paving stones. On 

1 Hubner, C. I. Z., VII. Nos. 871, 912; conf. 269, also of the time of Septimius. 
If we suppose the work to have been begun in 207 we get over the difficulty felt as to 
its having been undertaken by Septimius when he was prosecuting active hostilities beyond 
the Northern Border. It is worthy of note that both Jerome and Cassiodorus give the year 
207 as that of the construction of the vallum, as they call it, of Severus ; though, no 
doubt, they seem to take that as the year of his coming to Britain. M. II. B. , lxxxi. and 

2 "Britanniam quod maximum ejus [sc. Severi] imperii decus est muro per transversam 
insulam ducto utriusque ad finem oceani munivit." Spartianus, DcSevero, 18; M. H. B., 
Ixv. As already noticed he gives the length of the murus which he ascribes to Hadrian 
as being 80 (Roman) miles. That agrees with the length of the stone wall, not with 
that of the vallum ; but again the statement that the murus of Severus extended from 
sea to sea is true of the stone wall and not of the vallum. That an important fortifica- 
tion, whether wall or vallum, running from sea to sea, was executed by Severus is also 
stated by Aurelius Victor, M.H.B., lxxi. ; but he gives the length as 32 miles, not the 
length even of the vallum of Antoninus. So too Orosius, who notices the towers {turres) 
which belong to the wall, not to the vallum, but expands the length to 132 miles. Id., 
Ixxix. ; his words are copied by Eusebius, Jerome, and Cassiodorus. The name of 
Severus again appears in the Epitome to Gildas, M. H. B., 5 ; Nennius, Id., 60 : Bieda, 
Id., 112. Gildas himself would have us to believe that both vallum and wall were built 
by the Britons, with some little help from the Romans, after they had abandoned 
Britain ; Id., 10, II. 

3 Gildas, Epitome, M. H. B., 5 ; Boeda, Hist. E., I. 12. Bceda gives the height of 

34 SEPTIMIUS SEVER US [a.d. 208-210 

the North side it had a ditch, which seems to have been ten to fifteen feet 

deep, while a well-made road, twenty-two feet wide, ran along the southern 

side. 1 Connected with it were some eighteen permanent stations, or walled 

camps, 2 of three to five acres each, with " mile-castles " and watch-turrets 

between ; thus closely resembling the Forth-Clyde vallum of Antoninus. 

For necessary freedom of communication apertures or gaps were left in 

the wall at every station and mile-castle. 

But with all their fortifications the provincial authorities reported the 

situation as intolerable : either the army of occupation must be per- 

_ „ . manently strengthened, or a grand effort made to crush the 

Septimius . 

Severusin Northern tribes. Though past threescore years of age and 

Britain, crippled with gout, Septimius chose the latter alternative. 
Travelling in a litter he left Rome with " his two sons, his whole court, 
and a formidable army" (a.d. 208). Rejecting all offers of negotiation, 
he declared war against the Caledonians and the Mczatce, the two lead- 
ing Northern confederacies, in which all other tribes at this time were 

The Mtzatcz are described as living ' on the frontier wall ' 3 ; i.e. the 
vallum of Antoninus ; the Caledonians are described as living beyond 
them. The Mceatcz therefore prima facie would be the inhabitants of 
the districts of Strathearn and Strathallan ; possibly also of Strathmore 
and the Mearns, otherwise Kincardineshire. 4 

The raising of troops and other preparations must have taken con- 
siderable time, as the actual expedition seems to have fallen in the year 
210. The younger son Geta was left in command in the province, the 
elder and more troublesome son, Antoninus, otherwise "Caracalla," 
being kept under his father's eye. Crossing the Northern vallum 5 
Expedition Septimius plunged into the wilds beyond, and with enormous 

against labour worked his way ' almost to the end of the island ' ; 
Caledonians. that j g tQ gay tQ the southern s h res of the Moray Firth. 

the wall as 12 feet. Camden and other writers of the 16th century give the height as 
15, 16, and 21 feet. Bruce, Roman Wall, 48. 

1 Bruce, 56. Transactions Cumberland Antiquarian Society, sup., 459, 461. 

2 For a list of these, with details of the troops quartered there, see the Notitia, 
M. H. £., xxiv. Bruce estimates these, all auxiliaries, at 12,000 men. Three of the 
stations— Vindolana, Magna, and Tetriana lie to the South of the vallum of Hadrian, 
and must originally have been connected with it. 

:! " 7rp6s avrip rip diareixl-crp-aTi " (Dion-Xiphil). 

4 This might be inferred from the line of Severus' march, but the name Moeatre seems 
fairly identified with the Miati or Miathi of Adamnan, the biographer of St. Columba; 
and they are connected with Magh Circinn, the later Mearns or Kincardineshire. Rhys, 
C. B. t 155, 159, 297. The name Maeata?, however, must not be connected etymologi- 
cally with Magh Circinn. 

ft rd irpopefiXrineva pevfxard re koI xQfiara " (Herodian). The combination of rivers 
and earthworks clearly points to the northern rampart. 

Yoli.I. to face page, 85 

IfUK.l ;l,ii.rtoa.EiimWg!i 

a.d. 20S-210] IN NORTH BRITAIN 85 

The historians claim for the Emperor the credit of having imposed a 

treaty on the clans ; but neither in coming or going did he once behold 

an enemy in battle array. His achievements were utterly incommensurate 

with his losses which were terrible. The army was worn out with the 

toil of incessant road-making and bush-fighting, while having to endure 

wet, cold, and privations of all sorts. 1 

The footprints of the Imperial march may yet be traced with a fair 

degree of certitude. The army would need no fortified camps till it 

entered hostile territory, beyond the Northern rampart: and 

The Route. , . _ _, , J r , . . ' , 

accordingly to the South of that no camp has been found 

exceeding the dimensions of the 50 acre camps which we attributed to 

Agricola. But at Ardoch, 20 miles from the frontier, we find the first 

of the series of larger camps to which we have already referred ; and 

which must be ascribed to Septimius. The great camp at 

Ardoch encloses about 121 acres of ground, an area equalled 

by only a few of the camps in Southern Britain, such as those at Silchester 

and Wroxeter. On the Polybian system this would afford accommodation 

for 25,000 or 30,000 men. Another camp of the same size is found at 

Gray's Wells 2 near Scone, about x miles beyond Perth, and 
Gray's Wells. m u *.u n j r a j v. a I 

24 miles by the Roman road from Ardoch. Some 10 to 12 

miles from Gray's Wells we have the two smaller camps at Lintrose and 

Coupar-Angus already noticed ; 6 miles further we have traces of a camp 

at Cardean, at the confluence of the Dean and Isla ; and thus advancing 

13 miles by Ruthven, Lindertis, and Kirriemuir we come to 
' ' " Battle Dykes," a camp of 124 acres near Oathlaw in Forfar- 
shire, being at a distance of 30 or 31 miles from Gray's Wells. 3 Some 

14 miles further East we have a smaller camp of zo acres, 
War Dykes 

"War Dykes," Keithock. The next stage would probably 

be to Stonehaven (24 miles), where traces of a fort are found. 4 From 

Stonehaven an attempt was apparently made to plunge into the heart of 

the country, as some four miles inland we have a camp of 
Rcte Dykes 

about 87 acres, "Rae Dykes." But as even at the present day 

there is no road beyond, we may suppose that the army fell back to 

Stonehaven, and then, taking a line a little more to the East, made an 

„ advance of 9 miles to a ford on the Dee, seven miles above 

Norman J ' 

Dykes. Aberdeen, where on the North bank of the river we have 

1 Dion-Xiphil, LXXVI. ss.n-16; Herodian, II. cc. 46-51 ; M. H. B., lx., lxiii. The 
loss of 50,000 men given by Dion is absurd ; it is most unlikely that Severus had as 
many as 50,000 men with him in all. 

2 This the proper name as found on the old maps is now usually given as "Grassy 

3 Traces of a Roman road are marked at West Muir between Lindertis and Kirrie- 

4 Coins of Severus have also been found near Stonehaven; Stuart, Caledonia Romana y 

86 GAULISH EMPERORS [a.d. 211-277 

another large camp of 108 acres, "Norman Dykes." 1 Dropping down 
the river to Aberdeen Septimius must have made a final advance from 
that city, as 30 miles on the road to Banff we have our last stepping- 
stone in the shape of one more large camp, another " Rae 
Rae Dykes Dy k es ," one mile to the East of Wells of Ythan. 2 Having 
fairly traced him so far we cannot doubt that the Emperor 
finally reached the shores of the Moray Firth. 

Septimius returned to York to die there. He passed away on the 
4th February, 211. His last moments were embittered by the conscious- 
ness that his efforts had been all in vain, both Caledonians 
Septhnius anc * ^ ceatce being again in full revolt. His dying injunctions 
to his sons were to exterminate them without mercy. 3 But 
the sons had their own succession to attend to : they renewed the peace, 
and left the province to its own resources. 4 

For the next 65 years nothing has been handed down concerning 
Britain except the names of a few rulers. If the island had no history 
we may indulge in the belief that it was comparatively tranquil and 
prosperous. It certainly appears to have escaped the troubles that dis- 
tracted the rest of the Empire during the unfortunate reigns of Valerian 
and his son Gallienus (a.d. 254-268). But inscriptions prove that Britain 
uniformly followed the lead of Gaul, and accepted the rule of 
withGau? ^ ie success ^ ve Gallic pretenders Postumus, Victorinus, and 
Tetricus. 5 So again things went in 276 when Proculus and 
Bonosus endeavoured to form a Celtic Empire to include Spain, Gaul, 
and Britain. The Emperor Probus however defeated these rivals, and 
then sent over masses of Germans, as forced settlers, to keep the Britons 
quiet. 6 

With the accession of Diocletian (a.d. 285) the shaken Empire entered 

1 i-J miles to the S. W. of Culter House. 

2 See Roy, Military Antiquities, 66, and Plates, and the 6-inch Ordnance Map. 
Another well-defined camp with a small procestrium, together enclosing 58J acres, is 
found at Harefaulds, Kirkbuddo, about half way from the Oathlaw camp to Broughty 
Ferry, near Dundee. This may have been used by a wing marching independently, as 
it lies quite off the road from Perth to Stonehaven, or it may have been used for bring- 
ing up supplies from the mouth of the Tay. 

3 Dion-Xiphil and Herodian, sup. Spartianus, De Severo, c. 19. 

4 Dion-Xiphil, lxxvii. c. 1. Herodian, sup. ; according to the latter Caracalla signed 
a peace on receiving hostages ; according to the former, he evacuated fortresses " to. 
(ppovpia e^\t7re," that suggests the abandonment of the northern vallum. If the Anto- 
nine Itinerary belongs to the time of Caracalla the fact cannot be doubted, as with it 
the Southern vallum is the frontier. 

5 See the inscriptions. C. I. L., VII. Nos. 1150, 1151, 1160, 1161. Postumus 
apparently ruled from 259 to 268 ; Victorinus in 269 and 270 ; and Tetricus in 271, 272, 
or thereabouts. See Mommsen, V. 149-152. 

6 a.d. 276, 277. Vopiscus, De Probo, c. 18 ; Zosimus, Hist. Nov., I. 66. M. H. B. r 
lxvi., lxxv. ; Mommsen, V. 152. " Claruit Vospiscus exeunte saeculo tertio, Zosimus 
ineunte sceculo tertio." 

Toll to Toce. page, 86 

a.d. 285-292] BRITISH NAVY 87 

on a period of reorganisation and rehabilitation. But even under Diocle- 
tian and his colleague Maximian, surnamed Herculius, 1 the 
^mSeror 11 looseness of tne bonds by which Britain was bound to the 
Empire was very apparent. 2 If a weak man was appointed 
to command, the province fell into confusion ; if a strong man was 
appointed, he revolted on his own account. Thus for ten years under 
Diocletian Britain became an independent kingdom. 

For thirty years before the accession of Diocletian the Franks had been 
harassing the Empire along the frontier of the Rhine. 3 Driven back by 
The Saxons P r °b us they took to the sea, ravaging the Channel coasts, in 
concert with the Saxons, another Teutonic people, now heard 
of for the first time. Carausius, a Menapian (Fleming) and an able naval 
officer, was given the command of the Roman fleet, with his headquarters 
at Boulogne, 4 to keep down these attacks. Being suspected of malversa- 
tion, if not of direct complicity with the rovers, an order for his execution 
Carausius was i ssue d by Maximian : whereupon Carausius threw off his 

Emperor in allegiance, retired to Britain, and assumed the Purple (a.d. 

Britain. ° . ' . . ' , > , 

287).° It is interesting to note that for some years he re- 
tained his hold upon Boulogne : thus anticipating the position of England 
in the 14th and 15th centuries with its footing at Calais. Unprovided 
with shipping, always a weak point with the Romans, the Emperors had 
to accept the position of Carausius ; and for some eight years he ruled 
Britain with success, as indicated by the extraordinary number of his 
coins found. On some of these he represents himself as joint Emperor 
with Diocletian and Maximian. On others we have a female figure, 
welcoming a soldier, with the legend Expectate Veni ; 7 an inscription 
not found on earlier coins, nor on later ones, till it was revived in Scot- 
land in the year 1745 in honour of "Prince Charlie." 

We may conjecture that Carausius, while ruling by the swords of Frankish 
mercenaries, had the dexterity to pose as the champion of British aspira- 
tions after Home Rule. 

In 292 Constantius Chlorus and Galerius, nicknamed " Armentarius" 

1 Diocletian was proclaimed Emperor in 285 ; he associated Maximian in 286 ; 
Gibbon, II. 64 (ed. 1854). 

2 "Britannia fertilis provincia tyrannorum " was the remark of St. Jerome, Adv. 
Jovianum, II. iv. 6 ; M. H. B., xcix. 

3 The Franks, perhaps new opponents only in name, are first heard of as pushing 
forwards towards the lower Rhine in 253. Mommsen, V. 149. Three years earlier the 
Goths were attacking the line of the Danube. 

4 " Gesoriacum," Eumenius ; " Bononia," Eutropius. 

5 Aurelius Victor, De Ccesaribus, c. 39; Eutropius, Breviar., ix. cc. 21, 22. Orosius, 
Hist., c. 25. Eusebius Pamphilus, Chron., II. M. H. B., lxxi., lxxii., Ixxix., lxxxi. 

6 M. II. B., PI. x. 1. The coins of Carausius are supposed to have been mostly 
struck in London or Colchester. 

' Id., PI. v. 13. 

38 FLAVIAN DYNASTY [ad. 292-306 

were associated by Diocletian as Casars (1 March). 1 Constantius at once 

Constantius signalised his accession by ousting Carausius from his 

Chlorus continental footing at Boulogue. 2 Two years later Carausius 
Csssar • 

fell a victim to assassination, the fate of so many rulers in those 

days of military rule ; he fell by the hand of his follower Allectus, who 

usurped his authority. 3 

War was promptly declared against the new ' pirate.' The operations 
were conducted by the Caesar Constantius Chlorus in person. A fleet 

Allectus navm & at last been ra ised he himself sailed from Boulogne, 
Emperor in part of the armament sailing from the mouth of the Seine. 
n am. jr av0 ured by a fog they accomplished the crossing without 
attracting the attention of the British fleet, which was stationed off the 
Isle of Wight. The landing must have been effected in different places, 
as we are told that Allectus was defeated and killed by one wing, under 
the command of Asclepiodotus, prefect of the Praetorians ; while the last 
of the fugitive Franks were cut to pieces in the streets of London by 
another wing that had sailed up the Thames. 4 

In the year 305 both Diocletian and Maximian abdicated (1st May): 

whereupon the two Caesars were proclaimed Emperors ; Galerius to rule 

in the East, and Constantius Chlorus in the West ; two new 

cmorus Caesars being named in the persons of Daza-Maximinus and 

?? p ?£ or \ of Valerius Severus. Constantine, the son of Constantius, for 
the West. , , , , , r -, • 1 

whom no place had been found in these arrangements, 

was at the time in the hands of Galerius at Nicomedia. Dissatisfied 

with his position he made a hasty escape, and joined his father 

at Boulogne, just as he was preparing to sail to Britain. The two 

having established their position in the Island signalised their accession 

by an expedition against the Caledonians and other Picts. 

The war over, Constantius, like Septimius, returned to York to die 

(25th July 306) ; when Constantine was at once proclaimed. 5 

1 Gibbon, II. 67. 

2 Claudius Mamertinus, Panegyr. Maxim., cc. II, 12: Eumenius, Pro Instaurandis 
Scholis, cc. 18, 21. Id., Panegyr. Constantino, c. 5. M.H.B., lxvi. lxix. According to 
Nennius, the Welsh writer, Carausius repaired the " murus " and "agger" of Severus, 
adding new "turres." Nennius took the Northern vallum to be the work of Severus 
(c. 19 M. H. B.), but " turres " would be inapplicable to the Northern work as there 
was no wall there. 

3 Aurelius Victor ; Eutropius ; Orosius, suf>.,A.D. 294, Petrie. 

4 Eumenius, Panegyric Const., cc. 9-19; M.H.B., lxvii. Aurelius Victor; 
Eutropius ; Orosius, sup. For the coins of Allectus see M.H.B.,¥\. XV., XVI., XVII. 
Naval emblems are again common. 

5 Eumenius, Panegyr. Constantino, 7, 8 ; Aurelius Victor, De Ccesaribus, c. 40, and 
Epitome 41 ; Zosimus, Hist. Nov., II. 8 ; Eutropius, X. 1, 2 ; Ammianus Marcellinus, 
Addenda ; Socrates, Schol. Hist. EccL, I. 2 ; M. H. B., lxix., lxxi., lxxv., Ixxxi. Con- 
stantine the Great may have been born in Britain, but the point is doubtful ; the allega- 
tion that his mother, the Sainted Helena, was of British extraction is a mere legend. See 
Gibbon, II. 109, note. 

a.d. 306-361] TIMES OF PEACE 89 

Under Constantine the Great and his sons Constantine II., Constan- 

tius II., and Constans, Britain again enjoyed more than fifty 

the Great years of tranquillity. 1 In 312 the province had to supply its 

proclaimed contingents for the great struggle against Maxentius. 2 At the 

0+ Vat* lr 00 o 

death of Constantine (a.d. 337) the Empire was divided 

among his sons, and Britain fell to the share of the eldest, Constantine II. 

At his death Britain came into the hands of his brother Con- 

Constantme stans ^ A D< ^40). For his reign the only bit of civil history 

that we have is an indirect notice, the original narrative being 

lost, of a hasty visit paid by the Emperor to Britain in winter 

time ; the August presence apparently being called for by hostile inroads 

of some sort. 3 But of such inroads we hear no more for nearly twenty 


In 350 Constans fell a victim to the successful rising of Magnentius, 
commander of the Household troops in Gaul. Magnentius, being of 
British extraction on the father's side, received some support 
M a g BrSon. S ' fr° m Britain, and notably from ' Count ' Gratian, at that time 
holding office in the province. 4 After the fall of Magnentius 
(353) we hear of searching inquisitions in Britain, instituted by one Paulus, 
an Imperial commissioner, in opposition to the wishes of the provincial 
authorities. The struggle culminated in a personal collision between 
Paulus and the Vicar Martinus, in which the latter lost his life. 5 The 
importance attached to this occurrence implies a dearth of greater events : 
but the incident in itself shows the jealousy felt towards provincial rulers 
at headquarters ; and the mischievous readiness to interfere with their 

Direct testimony to the well-being of the province during this period 
however is not wanting. Eumenius, the Panegyrist of Constantius, 
extols the fertility of its soil ; the rich produce of its flocks, and herds, and 
hives. 6 Still more to the point are the records of large shipments of corn 
to the Rhine for the support of the Roman garrison during the time that 
Julian (afterwards Emperor) held sway in Gaul as Caesar. 7 

The reader may have wondered at the new titles of office, ' Count/ and 
* Vicar,' above introduced without explanation. 
Adminis- Important modifications in the adminstration of the Empire 

trative had been introduced by Diocletian. 

After the association of Maximian and the two Caesars, 

1 a.d. 306-361. 2 Zosimus II., c. 15. M. H. B., lxxvi. 

3 a.d. 340-350, Ammianus Marcell., XX. I ; Julius Fermicus, De Errore ; M. H. B., 
Ixxiii., xcv. Fermicus lived at the time. 

4 Zouaras, XIII. 6 ; Amm. Marcell., XXX. 7 ; M. H. B., Ixxiv., lxxxvii. 

5 Amm. Marcell., XIV. 5 ; M. H. B. t lxxii. 

6 a.d. 296. Panegy. Const., c. 11 ; M. H. B., Ixvii. 

7 a.d. 355-361. Zosimus III., c. 5; Eunapius Sarclianus, Hist. Byzant., p. 15; 
Amm. Marcell., XVIII. 2 ; M. H. B., Ixxiii., Ixxv., lxxvi. ; Gibbon, etc. 

9 o BRITAIN A DIOCESE [a.d. 292-337 

Galerius and Constantius Chlorus, 1 he had subdivided the Empire 
into four parts, one for each Augustus and each Cassar. Constantine 
the Great retained this arrangement with modifications to suit the 
case of a sole Emperor, the position to which he ultimately attained. 2 
The Empire was thrown into four vast Prefectures, each under 
Prefectures. a Pretorian Prefect (prcefectus prcztorio). The Western or 
Gallic Prefecture included Western Africa, Spain, Gaul, and 
Britain ; thus extending from Mount Atlas to the Firth of Forth. 3 For 
obvious political reasons the civil and military commands were separated ; 
the military commands being again subdivided between Masters of the 
Cavalry and Infantry. In this system Britain ranked as one of the six 
1 Dioceses ' of the Gallic Prefecture ; the civil government being 
P0 BritSn° f in the hands of a ' vicar ' o r Vice-prefect, whose head- 
quarters were at York, that city, from the military point of view, 
being of more importance than London. Each ' Diocese ' again was sub- 
divided into ' Provinces.' Under Septimius Severus Britain had been 
divided into two, a Lower and an Upper Britain ; now we have it split 
into four provinces, Britannia Prima, Britannia Secunda, Flavia Canadensis, 
and Maxima Canadensis. 4 The limits of these districts are nowhere laid 
down ; but it is generally agreed that Britannia Prima lay to the South of 
the Thames valley, answering to the later Wessex ; and that Britannia 
Secunda lay to the West of the Severn, answering to Wales and the Welsh 
March; Flavia Canadensis would extend from the Thames to the Humber — 
the later Mercia ; and Maxima Canadensis 5 from the Humber to the Wall, 
the later Northumbria. The addition of a fifth nominal Province, Valentia, 
for the districts North of the Wall came later on in the century. 6 

Under the Vicar each Province, according to its importance, was 

administered either by a Consularis or a Preses. The military com- 

Civii and mands °f tne ' Dioceses ' rested with comites, ' companions ' 

Military (i.e. Emperors Companions) 1 or 'counts'; and Duces, 

Officers. 'Leaders/ or 'Dukes.' The Duces were subordinate to the 

1 The two Csesars were associated 1st March, 292 ; Gibbon, II. 69. The scheme of 
the new subdivisions was probably settled in or after 297. Mommsen, Abhand., sup. 

2 Constantine the Great did not become sole Emperor till 324, after the defeat and 
death of his last rival Licinius. 

3 See Freeman, Historical Geography, Maps, pi. XII. 

4 The oldest authority for these divisions is the Verona MS. printed by Mommsen, 
Abhandl. Akadem. Wissensch., Berlin, 1862, p. 491 ; Rhys. This list appears older 
than the year 342 ; the next oldest is that of Festus Rufus, circa 370. 

5 The name " Flavia " Canadensis clearly points to the House of Constantius whose 
family name was Flavius. Constantine II. had a daughter Flavia Maxima, but the 
province "Maxima" Canadensis was probably named after the Western Augustus, 

6 Valentia is not named either in the Verona MS. or in Rufus Festus. 

7 The title seems to have been originally given to those appointed on the Emperor's 
retinue in his progresses. It is found from the time of Marcus Aurelius. 

a.d. 292-400] 'COUNTS' AND 'DUKES' 9* 

Comitcs, two or three Duces being usually under one Conies. But in 
Britain we have two Comites and only one Dux ; namely Comes Britannia ; 
the Comes Littoris Saxoitici per Britan?iias ; 1 and the Dux Britanniarum. 2 

The Comes Britannia must have been the commander-in-chief; but for 

the third century of our era we have no record of the disposition of the 

troops in Britain. At the beginning of the fifth century^ 

The Garri- w h en t ] ie jYotitia was compiled, we have them mostly massed 

in the two quarters exposed to attack : namely, on the Wall in 

the North, and along the sea-coast in the East and South. The 6th 

Legion and the Auxiliaries on the Wall were under the command of the 

Dux; and the 2nd Legion, with a further complement of Auxiliaries, 

were under the command of the Comes Littoris Saxonici. The 20th 

Legion is not named ; and the troops under the command of the Comes 

Britannia are mostly cavalry. The growing importance of cavalry is one 

of the features of the Lower Empire, mounted soldiery being most effectual 

for checking or punishing barbaric raids. 3 

The troops under the command of the Comes Littoris Saxonici were 
divided between nine seaside stations ; namely Brannodunum, Brancaster 
in Norfolk ; Garia?iotinum, Burgh Castle on the Yare ; Othona, Ithanchester 
in Essex ; Regulbium, Reculvers in Kent ; Rutupice, Richborough by 
Sandwich; Dubris, Dover; Lemanis, Lymne by Hythe in Kent; Anderida y 
Pevensey ; and Portus Adurni, perhaps Shoreham. 4 



If we follow the lines of the vallum and Wall westward from Newcastle we find the two- 
keeping on parallel lines at an average distance of about 100 yards apart till we come to 
Eppie's Hill, beyond Rudchester ( Vindobala), where the two converge till they touch. 
So again between Carr Hill and Halton Shields. At Halton Chesters {Hunnum) the 
camp — a walled camp attached to the Wall— clearly infringes on the valhun : the vallum 
does not retain its full width as it passes along the south side of the camp. If there was 
any need for the vallum after the Wall and the walled camp had been built there seems 
no reason why the vallum should not have retained its full width here. At Planetree,. 
just to the East of a Mile Castle, the Wall turns suddenly at an angle, as if to avoid cutting 
into the vallum. At Chesters {Cilernum) we have the same circumstances as at Halton 
■Chesters ; a walled camp, with the vallum apparently passing along the south side of it, 
but with a very diminished width. Beyond Tower Tay we have a good piece of the 
Wall 150 or 200 yards in length. At Limestone Corner we have the two fortifications in 

1 The words per Britaunias are added to distinguish the Saxon shore of Britain from 
that on the other side of the Channel, extending from Belgium to Armorica ; Notitia, 
II. 106, 108, ed. Booking, 1839. The occurrence of this second Saxon shore makes it 
unnecessary to assume the existence of Saxon Settlements in East Anglia at this time. 

2 In the Notitia these British officers are described as being under the orders {sub 
dispositione) of the Masters of the Household Cavalry and Infantry : " Magistii 
Prsesentiales Equitum, Peditum." 

3 On this subject, see Mr. C. Oman's Art of War. 

4 This last indentification must be considered doubtful, as it depends on the antiquity 
of the name Adur as applied to the Shoreham river, which is disputed. 


juxtaposition, but without any interference on either side, both ditches being cut 
through basalt to a depth of 9 ft. or 10 ft. But at Procolitia, beyond Carrawbrough, 
we have a walled camp, attached to the Wall, completely overriding the vallum, with a 
ditch of its own that cuts through the vallum-ditch. At the Old Quarry, 300 yards before 
reaching Shield on the Wall (No. i) 1 the vallum, if not infringed upon by the Wall, is 
jammed up against it ; and 700 yards beyond Shield on the Wall seems clearly cut into 
by it. At Housesteads (Borgovicus) we have the best preserved portions of the Wall, 
but the vallum, which apparently passed ico yards to the south of it, is here completely 
destroyed, as if for the sake of access to the camp or by traffic to and from it. For some 
miles from this point the vallum runs at a considerable distance from the Wall, and 
could serve no purpose in connexion with it. At Carvoran (Magna), a camp not attached 
to the Wall, and one which must be referred to an earlier date, the Wall as it issues 
from Wall Tower Wood again turns at a sharp angle as if to avoid the vallum ; while 
the latter makes a bend with two angles, like a bastion, round the N. side of the camp, 
for its protection ; an unnecessary step if the stone Wall was there already. At Gills- 
land, in the grounds of the vicarage, we have a well-preserved piece of wall, which 
further on, beyond the river Irthing, reappears as forming the North side of the camp of 
Amboglanna (Birdoswald) and so onwards to the West. From Amboglanna to Wall 
Bowers the plan of the vallum appears to have been changed, a fourth rampart and a 
second ditch being added on the North side of the normal works. The track of the two 
ditches is plainly visible from the camp at a distance of 350 yards or 400 yards to the 
West. Looking back eastwards to the camp from that distance we may judge that origi- 
nally the extra northern rampart ran straight through the ground afterwards occupied by 
the camp, the southern rampart having passed over ground now washed away by the 
river Irthing. At Wall Bowers the Wall cuts off and destroys the extra northern 
rampart and ditch of the vallum which here come to an end. Of the meaning or 
purpose of this deviation from the regular plan we can offer no explanation. After 
Abbey-Gill's Wood, both Wall and vallum disappear, the track of the Wall and the 
sites of the Mile Castles, however, being just traceable. So on to Walton and Cambeck 
Hill ; but some indications of the vallum, a little to the West of Sandy Sike, suggest 
that at Walton, Wall and vallum coincided. At Newtown the traces seem to show that 
the Wall and vallum must again have come into contact, and the Wall again makes a 
bend as if to spare the vallum. Beyond Newtown, the remains of the vallum are more 
substantial, and the two works run parallel, mostly at what we may call the normal 
distance of 100 yards as far as a spot one half-mile East of Brunstock House and some 
two and a quarter miles short of Stanwix, where on the map we have the two fortifica- 
cations again coming into actual contact, and again diverging, 2 to run into the camp at 
Stanwix (Concavata) z one on the North side and one on the South side of the fort. 
Finally, crossing the Eden, at Davidson's Banks, on the river side just beyond the North 
British Railway Shed the Wall and vallum are shown as running in actual contact fox- 
on e-third of a mile. The tracks of the wall may still be seen, but the vallum at this 
place has been so completely destroyed that no statement one way or another can be 
ventured on from personal observation. 

Burgh upon Sands (Gabrosentum) 4 is usually given as the terminus of the vallum, but 
in fact it is traceable, a mile further, to Dykesfield. The last two camps belonging to the 
Wall-series are found at Drumburgh (Tujinocelum) h and Bowness (Glannibanta).^ 

[Since the above was in print I have seen the Report of the operations of the Cumber- 
land Excavation Committee in 1896, and it appears that at Carranbrough (Procolitia), 
the vallum is not overridden by the camp, but that on the contrary it makes a bend so as 
to include the camp. So again at Birdoswald (Amboglanna). It follows that these camps, 
probably with only earthen ramparts in the first instance, were executed either con- 
currently with or more likely before the vallum.] 

1 There is another place of the same name further West. 

2 The excavation at Brunstack of the Cumberland Committee of 1894 seems to have 
been made to the West of the point of approximation as may be seen on their plan, p. 

3 So Horsley, sup., and Petrie, M. H. B. The Ordnance Map and Mr. McLachlan 
apply the name Axelodunum to Stanwix. There are no inscriptions to fix the names of 
the Western stations. 

4 So the Ordnance Map. Horsley identifies Axelodunum with Burgh upon Sands. 

5 So Ordnance Map. Horsley makes it = Gabrosentum. ° Ordnance Map. 




This work appears to have begun at Grange, overlooking Bridgeness on the Forth, in 
Linlithgowshire. An inscription found at Bridgeness commemorates the completion by 
the 2nd Legion of 4652 Roman yards {passus = \ ft. 10 inches) of the work. 1 This 
portion of the fortification has disappeared, but the given distance brings us along the 
traditional line past Kinneil House to a small tower at Inneravon, overlooking the 
Avon, which is held to mark the site of an old Roman post. Traces of a corresponding 
post are said to be found on the other side of the stream. Crossing the Avon, the 
vallum and ditch become clearly distinguishable, and in fact unmistakeable, as we 
approach and pass through Polmont Park ; continuing more or less distinct through 
Calendar Park, to the outskirts of Falkirk. West of that town, it again becomes quite 
distinct in Tentsfield Plantation (Rough Castle), and so along the South bank of the 
Forth and Clyde Canal. Just beyond Castle Gary Station (fort) it crosses the Edin- 
burgh and Glasgow Railway, recrossing it just before Easter Dullater, and so to 
Croyhill, after that crossing and recrossing the Forth and Clyde Canal, between 
Twechar and Hillhead. The next point is Kirkintillock (fort), and then the Canal is 
again crossed and recrossed at Glasgow Bridge and Cadder Wood. The vallum then 
runs across the Kelvin at Balmuidy Bridge, turning North for a short distance, and then 
again going West to New Kilpatrick. A short distance before reaching this place, 
where the work crosses a stony height, the ditch seems almost as intact as on the day it 
was dug. The fortification then passes on by Duntocher (fort) and Mount Pleasant, to 
Old Kilpatrick on the Clyde (fort) ; but this last portion is no longer distinguishable. 

Perf. M. P. 1III D C L I I." 


A.D. 360-4II 

Renewal of barbaric attacks on Roman Britain— Government of Count Theodosius — 
Last Roman Emperors holding Rule in Britain — Marcus — Gratian — Constantine 
III — End of Roman Domination — Their Fiscal System — Results of their Stay in 

WITH the year 360 a new era of trouble was inaugurated in Britain, 
the Northern hordes being reinforced by the Scots, a people 
now mentioned for the first time. 1 The new comers were Gael from the 

_ : North of Ireland, the original " Scotia" and the only one 
Fresh > o •> j 

Northern known for many centuries of our history; "Scotus" being in 

invasions. f act s j m piy t h e Latin name for Gael. 2 We may suppose them 

to have made their crossings to Loch Ryan, or to the Clyde, 

on the banks of which river 143 years later they established a 

permanent settlement. 

The marauders did not in the first instance venture to cross the frontier, 

their ravages falling presumably on the debatable lands between the two 

walls. 3 But the province or ' Diocese ' as it was now called 

in the was greatly alarmed, and a hasty call for succour was for- 

Empire. war d e d to Julian, then holding his Court as Caesar in Paris. 

Afraid to leave Gaul for fear of the Alamanni, Julian deputed the task to 

Lupicinus, Master of the Horse, 4 who eventually reached London with 

some auxiliary troops. But Lupicinus did not really enjoy the confidence 

of the Caesar, and was either recalled or obliged to return before he could 

take any effective action. 5 The Emperor Constantius II. then died (361): 

1 Amm. Marcell., XX. 1. A rather earlier notice of the Scots is found in the Verona 
MS. printed by Mommsen, Abhandl., sup., p. 492, where " Scoti, Picti, Calidoni," head a 
list of the barbarous nations of the time. The MS. may be dated between 297 and 342. 
Eumenius, however, writing in 296, speaks of Britain as "assueta Pictis et Hibernensibus 
hostibus," M. H. B., Ixvii. 

2 Rhys' C. B., 92, 194, 236, 239. The Irish form of the name is "Scuit," but the 
word is rare. lb. Also Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 137. " Scotia eadem et Hibernia," 
Isidore, Origen., XIV. c. 6 ; M. H. B., cii. 

3 "Cum . . . loca limitibus vicina vastarent." Ammianus, sup. 

4 Ammianus styles him magister armorum, but, as above pointed out, the magisler 
equitum was the chief officer in Gaul. 

5 Amm. Marc, sup., conf. the extract from a letter of Julian, M. H. B., lxx., lxxiii. 

a.d. 361-368] BRITAIN OVERWHELMED 95 

Julian succeeded him, and his attention was fully engaged with other 

matters than the relief of Britain up to the time of his death, which 

occurred in the year 363. l Jovian then became Emperor, but died in a 

year; when Valentinian was proclaimed. Unwilling to under- 

an^ValTns 1 ta ^ e t ^ ie Durc ^ en °f governing the entire Empire he made a 

final partition with his brother Valens, assigning to him the 

Eastern Empire, and retaining the Western half for himself. 2 

With all these changes of government following in such quick succes- 
sion Britain's enemies grew and multiplied. The Picts and Scots harried 
her in the North, 3 while the Channel coasts were infested by Saxons and 
Franks. Moreover the Northern assailants had been again reinforced by 
the Atecotti, people dwelling between the Walls who had joined the Picts 
and Scots in self-defence. 4 In 367 matters reached a climax when Valen- 
tinian being on his way from Amiens to Treves was startled by the intel- 
ligence that Britain had been overwhelmed by a combination of barbaric 
attacks ; and that both Nectarides the Count of the Saxon Shore, and 
Fullofaudes the Duke, had fallen in action ; the one as we may suppose 
in the South, the other in the North. 

Two or three officers having been hastily appointed to go over, and 
then as hastily superseded, a leader equal to the emergency was at last 
found in Count Theodosius, " the best general of the Empire," 
Theodosius ^ atner of the future Emperor. He crossed in 368 with a sub- 
stantial force, which included the - Jovians ' and the * Victors '; 
the Heruli and the Batavians, all crack corps. 

Having landed at Richborough, the Counts' first business was to clear 
the neighbourhood of marauders, who were driving before them cattle and 
slaves for sale. Advancing to London he relieved the panic-stricken city. 
But the recovery and reorganisation of the Province was a matter of time 
and trouble. To enable him to effect the work Theodosius begged that 
men of ability, personally known to himself, should be sent out to fill the 
posts of ' Duke ' and ' Vicar.' The first necessity of the moment, however, 
was the suppression of the bands of miscellaneous origin who were preying 

1 Julian, however, as Emperor, did not altogether forget Britain, as we are told that 
he endeavoured to cut down military expenditure there ; but that would not strengthen 
the province against invasion. Libanius, Or alio Parent., injulianum; M. H. B.,xcv. 
Libanius lived at the time. 

2 26 February-28 March, 364. See Gibbon, III. 213-236. 

3 " Per diversa vagantes multa populabantur." 

4 See Amm. Marcell., XXII. 3, XXVI. 4, XXVII. 8 ; M. H. B., Lxxiii. For the 
Atecotti see Rhys' C. B., 92. S*kene, Celtic Scotland, I. 101. Ammianus now divides 
the Picts into Dicaledonas and Verturiones (not Vecturiones, Rhys, 308). The Vertu- 
riones would be the men of Fortriu or Fortrenn=Strathern. Dicaledonre is clearly the 
same as Duicalidonios (AovriKa\id6i>i.os), the name given by Ptolemy to the Western, or 
as he considered it, Northern sea or sea coast of Britain. 


on the country. 1 This was mainly effected by the liberal offer of pardon 

on condition of enlistment in the Roman service. 2 

But Theodosius did not feel strong enough to take the field against the 

Northern tribes till next year (369), when he marched from London clearing. 

„ .. all before him. The Picts and Scots were driven to their 


Frontier homes ; the frontier fortifications were restored and remanned ; 

Restored. and the districts between the Walls recovered and reunited to 
the Empire as the Province of Valentia. Here again the turbulent ele- 
ments were got rid of by the enlistment of Atecotti to serve as auxiliary 
cohorts on the Continent. 3 The work of the year included the crushing 
of an attempted rising by one Valentinus, an exile in banishment from 
Pannonia ; and the suppression of the "Arcani," apparently an Intelli- 
gence corps on the frontier, found guilty of supplying information to the 

All this and much more accomplished, Theodosius left the Province for 
which he had done so much, called off to discharge duties of still greater 
importance elsewhere. 4 His labours however had gained for Britain some 
years of peace and quiet ; a period that might have been considerably 
prolonged had either the Provincial rulers been loyal to their Emperors ; 
or, if ambitious, content to keep their ambition within reasonable bounds. 
But Carausius, apparently, was the only man able to conceive the idea of 
an insular kingdom, perhaps because he was a sailor. To all others 
Britain seemed a mere fraction, an inarticulate fragment, incapable of 
independent existence. The idea that all legitimate authority emanated 
from the Imperial centre, had taken such a hold upon the minds of men 
that each successive ' tyrant ' hastened to justify his position by laying 
claim to universal Empire, exhausting the resources of the Island in hope- 
less enterprises. 

At the death of Valentinian I. (17th Nov., 375), the Western Empire 

was subdivided between his two sons Gratian and Valentinian II. ; Gratian 

taking Spain, Gaul, and Britain, and Valentinian II. taking 

peror over Italy and Illyricum. When Valens fell at Adrianople, de- 

and Britain feated and killed b Y tne Goths (9th August, 378), the younger 

Theodosius, son of the British Count, was named by Gratian 

1 " Variarum gentium plebem." 

2 a.d. 368. Amm. Marcell., XXVII. 9; M. H. B., lxxiii. The use of the word 
" desertores " suggests that some of the soldiers had turned Free Lances. 

8 Four bodies of Atecotti are given in the Notitia among the auxiliaries on the Conti- 
nent ; one in the East, three in the West, vol. I. c. 8, and vol. ii. c. 5, Ed. Bocking. 
Two of these corps, the "Honoriani," must have been raised later, under Honorius ; one 
or both of the others may have been raised by Count Theodosius. St. Jerome saw some 
of these "Atticoti," as he spells the name, in Gaul : he taxes them not only with poly- 
andry, but also with cannibalism, which seems hard to believe. Adv.Jovianum, c. 2 ; 
M. H. B., xcix. 

4 Ammianus Marcell., XXVIII. c. 3, XXX. 7. Pacatus Drepanius, Panegyr. 
Theodosio, c. 5. Zosimus IV. 12 ; M. H. B., Ixix., lxxiv., Ixxv. 

a.d. 375-3 8 3] A BRITISH EMPEROR 97 

Emperor of the East. 1 Gratian was not wanting in good qualities, but 

after seven years' rule he had lost the respect of his subjects by neglecting 

the duties of his position ; devoting himself to the pursuit of the chase ; 

while he offended his troops by surrounding himself with Alani — Nomads 

from the banks of the Don and the Volga ; splendid horsemen, but men 

regarded as barbarians by Germans no less than Romans. 2 

Suddenly news came that one Clemens Maximus had been proclaimed 

Emperor in Britain by soldiers and people. His previous position there 

is not clearly defined ; but it seems natural to assume that he 

Maximus pro- held some high command, if not the chief command. 3 An 

claimed in i Der j an by birth, he had served under the elder Theodosius 
Britain. . J '. 

in Britain, and it was alleged that his ambition had been 

stirred by the success of his countryman. 4 High character and talents 

are ascribed to him, and he had clearly gained the goodwill of the 

Britons. 5 Accepting the nomination with a decent show of reluctance, 

Clemens led all the forces of the Island across the Channel to attack 

Gratian in Gaul. Deserted by his men Gratian fled from Paris to Lyons, 

there to be overtaken and put to death (25th August, 383). 6 

When this happened, Valentinian II., the Italian Emperor, was still but 
a boy twelve years old ; Theodosius, the Emperor of the East, had no 
direct concern with the affairs of the West; and Constantinople lay a 
long way from Gaul. Recognising the position to which Clemens Maxi- 
mus had attained, he made a treaty with him, recognising him as Emperor 
beyond the Alps, on condition of his respecting the dominions of Valen- 
tinian II. 7 

" The reign of Maximus might have ended in peace and prosperity, could 
he have contented himself with three ample countries " ; corresponding 

1 19th January, 379. See Gibbon, III. 290, 335, 342. 2 Id., 356. 

3 Gibbon denies his having held office in Britain ; but the words of Pacatius, " insu- 
lam . . . regali habitu exulem suum illi exules orbis induerent," seem mere rhetoric. 
Panegyr. Theodosio, c 23; M. H. B., lxx. The words of Zosimus, " ovde els o-pxw 
Zi/Ti/jiov 'irvxe irpoehduv" need not mean more than that he did not consider his position 
equal to his merits. Hist. Nov., IV. 35. He is said to have kept the Picts and Scots 
in good order, but it is not clear whether this was before or after he assumed the Purple. 
Pseudo-Prosper, M. H. B., lxxxii. 

4 Zosimus, sup. Count Theodosius was a Spaniard, and his son was born in Spain. 

5 " Vir quidem strenuus et probus, atque Augusto dignus." Orosius, VII. 34; so 
too Sulpicius Severus, Dial., II. c. 6. Sacr. Hist., II. c. 49, ed. 1709. Conf. Pacatius, 
sup., c. 28. 

c See the authorities already cited : also Aurelius Victor, Epit., c. 47 ; Tiro-Prosper ; 
and Pseudo-Prosper, M. H. B., lxix., lxx., lxxii., lxxvi., lxxx., lxxxii., c. Gibbon, II. 
511. "Tiro Prosper, of Aquitaine, a Father of the Gaulish Church, lived from about 
400 to 450." He has left a valuable short, chronicle of his own times. He is usually 
cited as Prosper of Aquitaine. Another short chronicle, partly based on his, but of 
unknown authorship, has usually been cited as Prosper Tyro (so in M. H. B.). Mr. 
Hodgkin suggests " Pseudo-Prosper " as a better name. Italy, I. 277. 

7 Gibbon, III. 361. 
R. H. H 

9 3 FINAL DIVISION [a.d. 387-395 

to three of the principal kingdoms of modern Europe. But within four 
years he found excuses for breaking his treaty with Theodosius and 

Church questions at that time occupied a position of paramount in- 
terest. It was the age of Councils ; and the Arian controversy was still 
warm. Valentinian II. and his mother Justina were Arians ; 
Ouestions M ax hn us was rigidly orthodox, the most conspicuous event 
of his rule in Gaul being the suppression of the Manichsean 
followers of Priscillian, Bishop of Avila in Spain. It is worthy of note 
that " the first among Christian princes who shed the blood of his Chris- 
tian subjects on account of their religious opinions " was a Spaniard. 
With his convictions Maximus may have regarded an attack on Valen- 
tinian II. in the light of a crusade. 1 He crossed the Alps with a powerful 
army, to which Britain again contributed its quota in men and money 
(a.d. 387). Valentinian fled to the court of Theodosius, with his mother 
and his sister Galla. Theodosius, recently left a widower, fell in love 
with the sister ; and, ignoring the theological side of the quarrel, took up 
the cause of her brother. The armies met on the banks of the Save 
Fall of at Siscia, now Siszek. Maximus was defeated. Theodosius 
Clemens pushing on with great rapidity, captured his adversary near 

Aquileia, and put him to death. (June-August, 388). 2 
Of the British followers of Clemens Maximus few returned to their 
homes, the survivors being mostly settled in Armorica. The loss of these 
men was considered by the British writers one of the proximate causes of 
the fall of the Roman dominion in Britain. 3 

But the end was not yet. While the great Theodosius lived the fabric 

of the empire could still resist assaults. After the death of Valentinian II. 

(392), at any rate after the suppression of the rising of Arbogastes and 

Eugenius (394)/ Theodosius became for a short time sole Emperor both 

of East and West. In 395 he died, 5 and the Empires fell to 

Honorius! 1 ms tw0 sons Arcadius and Honorius, boys of eighteen and 

eleven, the elder called to rule in the East the younger in the 

West. 6 

1 So apparently Pseudo-Prosper, sup., Maximus, "indignum ducens contra ecclesise 
statum agi": also Sozomen, Histor. Eccl., VII. 13. For the persecution of the 
Priscillians see Sulpicius Severus, Hist. Sacr., cc. 4&-51 ; Dial., III. cc. 11-13 ; 
Pseudo-Prosper, sup., Gibbon. According to Sulpicius, St. Martin of Tours, to whom 
Maximus paid great court, did his utmost to restrain his persecuting zeal. 

2 Gibbon, III. 381-386. 

8 See Gildas, Hist., ss. 13, 14 ; Nennius, s. 27. Maximus was no hero to these 
writers. This seems to prove that his position in later Welsh writings was a mere 
literary creation, evolved from history, and not a genuine popular tradition : so too with 
Caros = Carausius. 

4 See Gibbon, III. 395-403; Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, I. 155-168. 

5 17th January.; Gibbon, sup. February; Hodgkin, sup., 196. 
c Gibbon, IV. 1. 

a.d. 395-4Q2] OF THE EMPIRE 99 

The change at the centre of the system was soon felt at the extremities. 

Pict and Scot and Saxon resumed their attacks. In answer to the calls 

Presh Attacks °^ t ^ ie Britons, the great Stilicho, who ruled the West in the 

on Roman name of Honorius, was induced, about the year 398, to 

ntam. SQn d ver troops, spoken of as a ' legion.' By their exertions 

the invaders were repelled and the frontier fortifications repaired. 1 

The troops sent by Stilicho were recalled about the year 402 for the 
great struggle with Alaric ; 2 who had invaded Italy for the first time. 
The Noiitia Utriusque Imperii to which we have referred appears to 
describe the state of things in Britain after this withdrawal. The two 
' Honorian ' cohorts of Atecotti must have been raised at this time. A 
reference to Equites Honoriani also proves the survey to have been drawn 
up after the accession of that Emperor, but before the final catastrophe. 
Two Legions, the 2nd and the 6th, 17 cohorts, and 16 humeri of infantry, 
with 7 alee or other bodies of cavalry, are specified as quartered in 
Britain. 3 The posts on the Saxon shore, on the Wall, and in Cumber- 
land, are described as held in strength. 4 How much of the given force 
was effectual and how much existed only on paper it is impossible to say. 
The 2nd Legion must have been reduced to a skeleton, as its headquarters 
were at Richborough, a mere coast station. 5 The number of posts in 
Cumberland and Westmorland suggests that the Northern invaders already 
affected the path so often trodden in future " roads," that by Carlisle and 
Brough into the West Riding. 

Reduced as it was, however, the garrison ought to have been sufficient 
for the defence of the Island. The end was precipitated by the old 

Not many months after the repulse of Alaric (402-403) G Italy had to 
face another wave of barbaric invasion under the leadership of Radagaisus. 

1 Gildas, Hist., s. 15. Writing from tradition, probably about 560-570, he gives no 
dates. These must be gathered from the Panegyrics of Claudian, who wrote at the 
time. We hear nothing of Britain in connexion with the 3rd and 4th consulships of 
Honorius (A.D. 396, 398); but under the year 399 we have " domito quod Saxone 
Tethys Mitior, aut fracto secura Britannia Picto." In Eutropium, I. verse 392; and 
-more explicitly," Me quoque vicinis pereuntem gentibus inquit Munivit Stilicho ... 
illius effectum curis ne tela timerem Scotica." In Primum Cons. Stilichonis, II. 250 ; 
again III. 148. 

2 " Venit et extremis legio praetenta Britannis," etc. Claudian, De Bello Gelico, verse 
416. Mr. Hodgkin would refer this to the withdrawal of the 20th legion, which is not 
named in the Notitia : Italy, I. 288. But the words seem to refer more naturally to the 
•reinforcements that Stilicho had clearly sent Over. The 20th legion might have left 
Britain with Maximus. 

3 By comparing the Notitia with the summary in Hiibner, Romische Heer, sup., -p. 584. 
fourteen of the cohorts will be found to date from the time of Hadrian and upwards. 

4 See Notitia, II., ed. Bocking, sup., and M. H. B., xxiii. 

5 The walls of Richborough enclose "not more than four "acres. Wright, Celt, 
Roman, and Saxon, 178. 

6 Namely at Pollentia, a.d. 402, Hodgkin ; a.d. 403, Gibbon. 

ioo DOMINION IN BRITAIN [a.d. 405-40S 

Again the prudent strategy of Stilicho hemmed in and mastered the enemy. 

Radagaisus fell (405); but the disappearance of the relics of his hosts 

from Italy was followed by the invasion of Gaul by a horde 

invasion of of Vandals and Alani joined by Suevi, who, crossing the Rhine 

GauL on the last day of the year, established themselves in the 

defenceless Province. 1 

ral ^ ut °^ ^ rom commumcat i° n w i tn Italy the Romans in 

Emperors in Britain had to act for themselves ; and, accordingly, the troops 

Britain. at once p roc laimed one Marcus Emperor. Being found 

Marcus, unequal to the situation he was assassinated 2 ; and another 
Gratian. . . 

Emperor, Gratian by name, was set up in his stead ; but he 

too, being found wanting, shared the same fate within four months' time. 

It may be conjectured that the troops quarrelled with these 
° nS in n me ru l ers f° r adopting an Insular policy, too contracted to please 

Roman ideas. At any rate their next choice, a third Con- 
stantine, as if profiting by experience, immediately took the British army 
into Gaul. 3 

\ Like Maximus, Constantine III. at first achieved remarkable success. 
{The Gauls flocked to his standard ; and he inflicted a considerable defeat 

on the Vandals, driving them across the Rhine. Advancing 
Successes, southward down the Rhone his forces had to encounter Sarus, 

the Goth, sent against them by Stilicho, who was not prepared 

to surrender Gaul to Constantine. Sarus defeated Justinian, 
one of Constantine's generals; and assassinated Neviogastes, another 
general, at a conference under flag of truce. His next move was to 
besiege Constantine himself in the town of Valence. After seven days 
the tables were turned by some mysterious revulsion, and Sarus had to 
raise the siege and retreat across the Alps with loss of all his baggage. 

Gaul, from the Channel to the Pyrenees, now lay at the feet of Con- 
stantine III. 4 But, as if that was not enough, he went on to conquer 

Spain, sending his eldest son Constans to reduce the Peninsula, 

which was ruled in the Honorian interest by four brothers, 
members of the Imperial family. Spain must have been denuded of 
troops, as the brothers could only bring hasty domestic levies into the 
field. Constans triumphed over these, driving two of the brothers out 
of the country, and bringing the other two back to Gaul as captives. 5 
This expansion of territory ultimately involved Constantine in ruin. 

1 See Gibbon, IV. 36-39, and 46-51. Hoclgkin, Italy, I. 280-312 ; Zosimus, VI. 3 ;. 
M.H.B., lxxviii. 

2 a.d. 406? Olympiodorus, Hist., p. 179 ^(ed. 1653). M.H.B., lxxv. "Floruit 
Olympiodorus ineunte sseculo quinto." 

3 a.d. 407. Zosimus, VI., c. 2 ; Prosper Aquit. ; M.H.B., lxxvii., lxxxii. 

4 a.d. 407. Zosimus, VI. 2, 3 ; Olympiodorus, sup. 

5 408. Gibbon, IV. 55; Zosimus, c. 4, 5; Orosius, VII., c. 40; M.H.B. y 

a.d. 408-411] COMES TO AN END 101 

Negotiations were opened with Honorius, who, being pressed by the 
second advance of Alaric into Italy, and anxious to save the lives of his 
relatives, condescended to recognise Constantine, sending him the purple 
robe. Meanwhile, however, the two captives, Didymius and Verinianus, 
had been sacrificed; and a real accord with the House of Theodosius 
made impossible. 1 

For three years more Constantine III. struggled on, the ground 
gradually slipping from under his feet. During the years 409 and 410 
Italy was in the hands of Alaric ; and Honorius could take no steps 
against the usurper beyond urging the Britons to revolt, 2 a suggestion on 
which we are told that they were not slow to act. Constans was sent 
by his father to rule in Spain ; but unfortunately he attempted to supersede 
his chief captain, Gerontios, a Briton, who had done the fighting in 408. 
Gerontios drew the sword against Constans, upset him, put him to death 
and set up a puppet of his own, one Maximus, and then carrying the war 
into Gaul, he broke up the government of Constantine. Fresh barbaric 
hordes at once pressed in from beyond the Rhine. 

The drama closed in 411. Alaric was dead; his successor, Ataulphus, 

left Honorius more free to act. The Emperor's chief minister and general, 

End of Count Constantius, was sent across the Alps : he besieged 

Constantine Constantine in Aries, took him prisoner, and carried him off 

to Ravenna to be beheaded. Gerontios fell a victim to his 

own unruly soldiers ; while the puppet Maximus was allowed to retire into 

oblivion in Spain. 3 

No attempt was made either to set up a new Emperor within Britain or 
to assert any Imperial authority over it from without the Island. It was 
allowed to drift away on its own course, and so the Roman domination 
came to an end 367 years after the landing of Claudius. 

The Greek historian Zosimus represents the Britons at the last as ex- 
pelling the Roman officials. But in fact ' it was not Britain 

Roman that gave up Rome, but Rome that gave up Britain.' 4 The 
occupation. Bri tons were too helpless and dependent to rise against their 

The later masters. The Roman system had destroyed in the subject 
Government. races not on |y ^\\ sense f nationality, but even " the remem- 
brance of past independence." 5 It had destroyed all individuality, and 
with it all capacity for self-help. "Grinding taxation" had destroyed 
capital and crushed industry. For lack of life-supporting callings popu- 

1 A.D. 408; Autumn?; Zosimus, V. 43; VI. I, 5. 

2 Zosimus, VI. 10. The letters appear to have been sent while Attalus was ruling as 
nominee of Alaric, that would be Oct. 409 to July 410 ? 

3 Zosimus, VI. 5, 6 ; Prosper Aquit. ; Orosius,VII.42. Maximus was still living when 
he wrote. See also Hodgkin's Italy, I. 350, 406. Spain had now been overrun and 
•occupied by the Vandals. 

4 Mommsen, V. 177. 5 Sir J. R. Seeley, Lectures and Essays, p. 37. 

102 ROMAN GOVERNMENT [b.c. 54-A.D. 411 

lation dwindled. " Men of property everywhere were, so to speak, 

chained to the spot where they lived, that the vulture of 
Oppressive . . , ' .... 

Taxation, taxation might prey upon their vitals ; the peasantry were 

in like manner appropriated and enslaved to military service." 1 

From the first the Roman government had been irresponsible and 

irresistible : taxation had always been heavy. The administrative reforms 

of Diocletian and Constantine, introduced for political reasons, had added 

greatly to the efficiency of the government : but they also added to the 

weight of the incubus on the land. " The army of officials might be 

necessary to carry on the government but they ruined the people." % 

The mere enumeration of the taxes as established from the time of 

Diocletian will speak for itself. Landowners paid a state-rent or land-tax 

on their estates (tributum) ; the soil of the conquered provinces 

being held in theory to have been forfeited to Rome. The 

amount in early times was a tenth of the annual produce (decumce) ; but 

in later times we are told that it might run from one-fifth to one-seventh, 

paid either in kind or in money, on the estimated value of the land. 3 A 

tenth or even a fifth would not seem a heavy rent, but it would be a heavy 

land-tax. In mediaeval days the English Parliament thought itself very 

liberal if it granted from time to time a tenth from the boroughs and a 

fifteenth from the counties, as an extraordinary ' subsidy,' and lucky was 

the king who could get it. 4 

Under the Romans the landowner was also liable to find corn for the 

troops (Annona)'^ he was bound to entertain officials on their journeys ; 6 

and he had to keep up the roads and bridges. 7 

As the landowner paid on the produce of his land, so traders {negotia- 

tores) were taxed on their stock-in-trade. 8 Estates above a certain value 

were liable to a Succession Duty of 5 per cent, {vicesima 

hereditatiim). Handicraftsmen and labourers paid poll-tax 

Labour (fapitatio) ° : artisans were forbidden to change their callings, 

lest they might evade their poll-tax. It is said that Caligula 

1 Seeley, sup., 56, 57. The decuriones, or men of landed property, who formed the 
senatus of the municipal towns, were responsible for the taxes ; they could neither resign 
their functions, sell their land, nor even absent themselves without leave. See the Codex 
Just., X. tit. xxxi. and xxxiii. ; Guizot, Civil. France, Lect. II. p. 67, ed. 1829. 

2 Seeley, sup., 70. 

3 So Hyginus, De Limitibus, p. 198, ed. 1674 ; Marquardt, Romische Staatsverwaltung, 
II. 216. 

4 See " Lancaster and York." 5 Marquardt, sup., 224, passim. 

6 Cod. Just., X. xlii. 3, ed. Beck. 

7 Id., XI. lxv. 1, lxxv. 4. Novella, CXXXI. c. 5. Mr. Coote also cites Tabula 
Heracleensis, Blondeau, II. 81. 

8 The amount would seem to have been an eighth, or 12J per cent. " Omne genus 
hominum quod commerciis voluerit interesse. . . . octavas more solito consuetas 
dependat." Cod. Justin, IV. lxi. 7. 

9 Marquardt, sup., 227, 231, 258. Two women apparently reckoned as one man : in 

B.c. 54-a.d. 411] AND ROMAN TAXATION 103 

had proposed to tax street porters (gertili) to the extent of an eighth of 
their earnings. Caligula was a madman, but the proposal to lay a tax 
of 12I per cent, on the roughest kind of manual labour seems astound- 

Customs (portoria) were charged on all imports and exports passing 

in or out of certain fiscal districts, of which Britain must have been one : 

12 J per cent, {octavo) was the rate in the latter days. One per 

Customs. cen t # was p a j(i on a ^ produce sold in the market {centesima 
rerum venalium) ; 4 per cent, being charged on the price of 
D Ue3 . slaves as an article of luxury. 1 It was to facilitate the collec- 
tion of these imposts that fairs and markets were instituted, 2 
on the principle of the mediaeval Staples. We need not again point out 
how much the weight of these burdens would be aggravated by the fact 
that the taxes were collected, and the country administered by aliens, 
irresponsible satraps, armed with irresistible power, and, presumably, 
anxious to make money and retire. The frequent references to lands 
at one time under cultivation, but then lying waste, speak forcibly of 
decay. 3 

It has always been recognised that the Roman occupation of Britain 

was essentially military. Even the civil officials of the later Empire bore 

military titles, and their] admirable roads, however useful in 
Military . J . ' . , , .,: „,. 

Character other respects also, were laid down for military purposes. 1 he 

° f Rom . an inscriptions found in Britain are few compared with those 
found in other countries ; 4 and they give no evidence of any 
real municipal life. Only four cities can be shewn to have received the 
higher municipal franchise, that of Colonics, namely Camulodwium (Col- 
chester), Glevum (Gloucester), Lindum (Lincoln), and Eboracum (York). 5 
The towns must have been essentially camps or forts — castra — down to 
the time of the Anglo-Saxon settlements. 6 Of 135 places recorded either 
in the Antonine Itinerary or the Notitia, only forty-six lived to become 
towns of any note. But these no doubt include most of our old borough 

" The language and manners of Italy must have been even more exotic 
here than on the continent " ; 7 yet we are in possession of facts which 

course of time the government had to content itself with one payment from three or four 

1 Marquardt, sup., 229-269; and Mr. T. W. Arnold's Roman Provincial Administra- 

2 Codex Just., IV. lx. and Ixi. 5; Pearson. 

3 e.g. Id., XI. lix. ; " Agros domino cessante desertos." 

4 Compare the 1,400 British inscriptions in Hiibner's C. I. L. with the 5,000 from 
Spain, and the 8,000 from Africa. 

5 See C. I. L., VII., Nos. 54, 189, 284, and above for Camulodunum. 

G The ever recurring A. S. " Chester " must have been formed directly from castra, 
and not from the Welsh caer. 7 Mommsen, V. 176. 

104 SURVIVALS OF [kg 54-A.D. 411 

seem to prove that in the later times of the occupation and long after- 
wards the landed gentry at any rate, spoke Latin, and called themselves 
by Latin names, up to the banks of the Clyde. 1 On the other hand of 
native industries we hear nothing beyond agriculture and mining. 2 The 
remains of public buildings which have been discovered are paltry : villas 
or private residences of Roman citizens have been found in great numbers 
along the lines of the roads, especially in the Southern districts. Some of 
these must have been magnificent; but with respect to the majority of 
them archaeologists are in doubt whether they were not simply built of 
timber on solid foundations. 3 For trunk lines of communication the 
system of roads was complete, extending to the utmost corners of Cornwall 
and Wales : 4 the bridges appear to have served the Anglo-Saxons all their 
time. 5 Latin, as a spoken language, must have lingered on for an in- 
definite period ; but all culture and civilization speedily disappeared, as is 
proved by the low ebb to which the arts of making pottery and glass, and 
the art of making or rather imitating coins at once sank after the departure 
of the Romans. 6 On the other hand the native Fauna and Flora must 

_ have received some valuable additions. Amons these we may 
Plants and ° J 

Animals notice the plane, chestnut, walnut, English elm, lime, and 
introduced. p pi ar? 7 wn ich are believed to date from Roman times, as do 
the fallow deer and the rabbit ; the cherry and the vine ; the radish and 
the pea. 8 Abiding traces of the Roman occupation may also be found 
in the customs connected with the tenure and cultivation of the soil, a 
domain in which use and want exhibit a surprising vitality. Thus along 
with their roads and bridges and their fortifications the Romans appear to 
have bequeathed to their successors the principle of making the mainten- 
ance of these works a primary burden on land. Lastly the agricultural 

1 See the Confessions of St. Patrick as given below ; and the monumental stone found 
near the Kirk of Yarrow to the memory of the sons of " Nudi Dumnogeni " a native 
prince, inscribed in Latin. For Latin in Wales see the bilingual inscription, (in Roman 
and Ogham letters) from Castell Dwyran, MEMORIA VOTEPORIGIS PROTIC- 
TORIS. " Protector " was a complementary title given to native chiefs. F. Haver- 
field, Academy. 

2 For Roman ingots or pigs of metal found, see C. I. L., VII., Nos. 1196, etc. : also 
Wright's Celt, Roman and Saxon, ch. VII. Mines of lead, iron, coal, and jet are 
mentioned by Ba;da ; and may be regarded as legacies from Roman times. 

3 See Wright, sup., 188, and the description of the villas at Wood Chester in Glouces- 
tershire, and Bognor in Sussex, comparing p. 163. 

4 For Cornish Roads, see Elton, 346. In Wales a Roman road is traceable down to 
the sea-shore at St. David's. For inscriptions found in Wales, see J. O. Westwood, 
Lapidarium Wallice. 

5 Wright, sup., 187. 

6 Id., 212, 420, 421, 426, 435. 

7 Nisbet, British Forest Trees, citing Loudon, Arboretum. 

8 Pearson, I. 56. Caesar's statement that the beech and fir were unknown {B.G.,V. 12) 
cannot be accepted : the Scotch fir and beech are indigenous, as well as the oak, ash, 
birch, wych elm, and some sorts of willow, Nisbet, sup. 

b.c. 54-A.D. 411] ROMAN OCCUPATION 105 

serf of later times, attached to the soil and irremovable from 
Coionus or it, not a slave nor yet a freeman, a man who had rights and 

Predial CO uld acquire property, looks very like a survival of the 

Roman coionus. 1 



(From the Antonine Itinerary ; the Notitia Utriusque Imperii; and the Geography of 
Ptolemy, as given in the M.H.B. For the identification of the sites, see generally 
Pearson's Historical Maps of England [1869] Index Geographicus.) 

Aliona or Alona 
Anderida .... 
Aquae Sulis 
Bannaventum . 
Blestium .... 
Borium .... 
Burrium .... 
Cassaromagum . 

Calcaria .... 


Camulodunum or Colonia . 



Coccium .... 

•Corinium or Durocornovium 

Danum .... 

Deva .... 

Dubris .... 

Durnonovaria or Durnovaria 

Durobrivas (1) . 

Durobriva? (2) . 





Glevum .... 


Isca Silurum 

Isca Damnoniorum . 

Ischalis .... 


Lagecium .... 

Lemanis Portus. 

Lindum .... 



Luguvallium or Luguvallum 

Magiovinium or Magiovintum 


Maridunum or Muridunum 

Orrhea .... 

= Ambleside ? 

= Pevensey or Eastbourne. 

= Bath. 

= Ross in Herefordshire. 

= Daventry or Weedon. 

= Monmouth. 

= Beeston. 

= Usk in Monmouthshire. 

== Chelmsford, or Writtle, or Widford in 

-- Tadcaster. 
= Cambridge. 

— Colchester. 
= Ancaster. 

= Bittern or Old Southampton. 

= Ribchester in Lancashire. 

= Cirencester. 

= Doncaster. 

= Chester. 

= Dover. 

= Dorchester in Dorsetshire. 

— Rochester. 

— Water Newton or Caistor on the Nen. 
= Fenny Stratford ? 

— Godmanchester. 

= Leyton or Rumford in Essex. 

= York. 

= Gloucester. 

= Abergavenny. 

= Caerleon-upon-Usk. 

= Exeter. 

— Ilchester. 

= Towchester or Stony Stratford. 

= Castleford in Yorkshire. 

= Lympne or Lymne in Kent. 

= Lincoln. 

= London. 

= Lancaster. 

= Carlisle. 

= Dunstable ? 

= Manchester. 

= Cacrmarthen. 

= Perth (J. H. R.). 

1 For an exhaustive treatise on the Roman colomis, see Fustel de Coulanges, Problemes 
d'Histoire. In Gaul he traces the same land system obtaining after the fall of the 

Empire as before it, pp. 130, 145. 


Pons CElii. 


Portus Magnus 





Venta Belgarum 

Venta Icenorum 

Venta Silurum . 


Vinci omora 

= Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

= Staines ? 

= Porchester or Portsmouth. 

= Leicester. 

= Reculver in Kent. 

= Nantwich in Cheshire. 

= Speen in Berkshire. 

= Winchester. 

= Caistor near Norwich. 

= Caergwent in Monmouthshire. 

= St. Albans. 

= Ebchester a in Northumberland. 

1 So named after St. Ebb (' 
one time. 

/Ebbe "), who is said to have been established there at 


The British Church— St. Ninian— St. Patrick— Pelagius— Britain from the end of the 
Roman occupation to the landing of Hengist. 

(a.d. 411-450.) 

BETWEEN the age of the Antonines and the age of Constantine 1 a 
great revolution had come over the spiritual life of the Empire. 

The political languor of the age of the Antonines was not 
Movements. com pensated by any intellectual or speculative activity. At 

the close of the third century we are further than ever from 
political liberty ; yet " we find ourselves in an age when ideas, good and 
bad, have an overmastering influence, and when, in particular, the sense 
of religion is more universal and more profound than it had ever been in 
the world before. Thoughts, reasonings, controversies, which in the age 
of the Antonines had been but languid in the schools, had now made their 
way into the world, and lived with an intense life. . . . Under the 
iron military rule human will and character begin to live again. Violent 
passions surge again, party divisions reappear, acts of free choice are 
done, men fight once more for a cause, once more choose leaders and 
follow them faithfully, and reward them with immortal fame. The trance 
of human nature is over, men are again busy and at work in spite of 
tyranny and misery." "The force of Theology "has done this : "an age 
of faith" has set in. Liberty "expelled from the State" has "reappeared 
in the church." 2 

From the period we have reached, for centuries onwards, if Britain 
"can properly be said to have an history at all" it will be only in 

connexion with the Church. 
in Britain. Throughout the Empire Christianity " had been tolerated, 

with few intermissions, from the time when Hadrian had found 
a kindly excuse for the Christians by classing them with the worshippers of 
his favourite Serapis." 3 Tertullian, writing about the year 208, claims the 
unruly Britons as subjects of Christ : the claim is reasserted by Origen in 
23Q. 4 At any rate by the year 300 it would seem that there was a 
Christian Church in Britain. 5 It has been generally held on the 

1 Say A.D. 180-306. 2 Sir J. R. Seeley, Lectures and Essays, 79-88. 

3 Elton, Origins, 348 ; and the authorities there given. For inscriptions to Serapis in 
Britain, see C. I. L., VII. Nos. 240, 298. 

4 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, etc., I. 3. 

5 Id., p. 4, citing Sozomen, Hist. Eccl., I. 6. 


108 CHRISTIANITY IN BRITAIN [a.d. 304-359 

authority of Gildas, who wrote about the year 560, that the great perse- 
cution of Diocletian extended to Britain, and that the British proto-martyr, 
St. Alban of Verulam, with Aaron and Julius of Caerleon and others 
suffered at that time. 1 The authority of Gildas as to events anterior to 
his own time may be estimated by the fact that he represents the murus of 
Septimius, and the vallum of Hadrian, if not that of Antoninus also, to 
have been the work of the Britons after the departure of the Romans. 
With respect to the persecution his allegations are " conclusively contra- 
dicted" by the authorities of the time, who tell us that Constantius gave 
little effect to the edicts of Diocletian, and that in Gaul and Britain no 
violence was offered to the persons of the Christians, though the churches 
were destroyed. 2 But the memory of St. Alban was still fresh in the year 
429 when St. Germanus opened his tomb: the fact of his martyrdom 

„ . therefore can hardly be doubted. We may suppose, either 

St. Alban. . . / , i. , r 1 ■ 1 

that he fell a victim to some popular outbreak, for which 

Constantius was not responsible; or that he was put to death in some 

earlier persecution. 3 

In the year 314 three British bishops assisted at the council of Aries, 

namely, Eborius of York, Restitutus of London, and Adelfius, 

Bishops wnose see is doubtful. 4 

Throughout the Arian controversy Britain seems to have 
followed the teaching of St. Athanasius, giving its adhesion to the 
decisions of the Councils of Nice (a.d. 325), and Sardica (a.d. 347) ; .but 
with some hesitation about the term 'O/xoouVio?. British bishops were 
certainly present at the Council of Ariminum (a.d. 359); three of their 
number being obliged from poverty to accept an allowance from the 
Emperor. 5 

But the spiritual life of Britain at the close of the Roman dominion 
comes out most clearly in connexion with the names of three distinguished 
men all living at the same time. St. Ninian, Pelagius, and St. Patrick ; 
two of them missionaries, the third a heresiarch, between them representing 
the practical and speculative aspects of religion. 

1 Gildas, Hist., c. VIII. ; M. H. B., p. 8. 

2 See Had dan and Stubbs, sup., 4-7, and the extracts there given from Lactantius, 
Eusebius, and Sozomen. The persecution began with the first edict of Diocletian in 
February 303. If Alban suffered during that period, it must have been in 304, as the 
persecution was not extended to laymen " such as Albanus is represented to have been " 
till the fourth edict, in 304 ; while the persecution in Britain must have ceased altogether 
in 305, when Diocletian abdicated. 

3 So apparently the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Liber Landavensis, which date his 
martyrdom in 286, Haddan and Stubbs, sup. 

4 The best MS. reads " De Civitate Colonia Londinensium," for which Haddan and 
Stubbs would read " Legionensium," = Caerleon-on-Usk, p. 7. Another MS. reads 
"ex civitate Culnia." I would read " Lindicolensium," or " Lindiculnia"— Lincoln, 
which was a Colony, and a more likely place for a bishopric than Caerleon. 

5 Haddan and Stubbs, sup., 7-10. 

a.d. 3 6 °-4°9] NINIAN: PELAGIUS 109 

St. Ninian may have been born between the years 360 and 370 : he was 
a native of the South-West of Scotland, probably of Galloway, the seat 
of his later bishopric. His father is described as a man of 
considerable position, a chief or prince (rex) and a Christian. 
The son went to Rome ; was consecrated Bishop by Pope Siricius — prob- 
ably a bishop of Valentia — and on his way home visited St. Martin, at Tours, 
from whom he obtained masons to build him a church of stone and lime, after 
the Roman fashion, in contradistinction to the churches of the native pattern,. 
" creel " churches, built of wicker-work and mud. Ninian's church was duly 
built at Candida Casa, Whithern in Galloway, a work of great interest, and 

Church dedicated to St. Martin, who must therefore have been then dead, 
at His death happened between the years 397 and 401, and that 
1 ern " gives us the only fixed point in Ninian's career. Working 
northwards from his see in Galloway, he carried the Gospel across the 
Forth, preaching to the ' Southern Picts,' defined by Baeda as the dwellers 
among and, as presumably we might add, along the southern slopes of 
the great Northern hills, the range in modern parlance called the 
Grampians. 1 It would also seem that Ninian founded a church at Cluain 
Conaire in Leinster, where he was commemorated as " Monenn," i.e. 
Nenn or Ninian with the honorary prefix "Mo" 'My.' 2 His memory 
has stamped itself on the traditions of the South- West and North-East of 
Scotland. He must have died before the year 432 : he was buried in his 
ow*i church at Whithern. 3 

Pelagius again was probably born about 370. He is generally called a 
Briton, but one writer of his time (St. Jerome) calls him a Scot. This 
may suggest a connexion with the south-west of modern 
e agius. g cot j an( j > -r;j ie name Pelagius used to be regarded as a mere 
translation of the Welsh name Morgan (Marigena, IIe/\aytos), but this is- 
now doubted. He went to Rome and lived there apparently from 401 to 
409, returning to Africa at the approach of Alaric. A man of high charac- 
ter and a moral reformer, he laid great stress upon conduct : rejecting all 
predestination he insisted on the freedom of the human will : he denied 
the doctrine of " original sin," maintaining that infant baptism was to be 
practised, not for the remission of sin, which the child could not have 

1 " Australes Pictos qui intra eosdem montes habent sedes." Hist. EccL, III. c. 4. 

2 Skene, Celtic S., II. 3. 

3 See Bxda, Hist. EccL, III. c. 4; and Ninian's Life by Ailred of Rievaulx (12th 
century), in J. Pinkerton's Vita SS. Scotia (ed. W. M. Metcalfe, 1889) ; Haddan and 
Stubbs, sup., 14 ; Dr. Gammack's Article in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Bio- 
graphy ; and Bishop Forbes' /Calendars of Scottish Saints, p. 421. Old dedications to 
St. Ninian, otherwise Rinnan, or Ringan, are found in Lothian, Stirling, Ayrshire, 
Perthshire, Fife, Kincardineshire, etc. In Peebleshire two streams of traditional re- 
miniscences meet ; one from the S.W., connected with St. Ninian, the other from the 
S.E., connected with St. Cuthberht. 

no PALLADIUS [a.d. 412-431 

committed, "but for the sake of obtaining a higher sanctification through 
union with Christ." In 412 his follower Celestius was accused before a 
Synod at Carthage on a charge of denying original sin. He was also taxed 
with teaching that Adam was created liable to death ; that he would have 
died whether he had sinned or not ; and that his sin hurt himself only, 
and not his descendants. 1 In the opposition to these views leading parts 
were taken by St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, and St. Jerome, Bishop 
of Bethlehem. Orosius the Spanish writer was also active against the 
Pelagians. Their tenets were condemned by a 2nd Synod held at Car- 
thage in 416 ; by Innocent, the Bishop of Rome, in 417 ; and again by 
another Synod at Carthage in 418 ; the action of the Church being now 
followed up by edicts of confiscation and banishment against all Pelagians 
issued by Honorius and Theodosius II. From this time Pelagius dis- 
appears from history. He is supposed to have died in Palestine about the 
age of 70. His teaching had made a deep impression in Italy, Gaul, and 
Britain ; but his views were condemned and are still condemned by 
Church writers as tending " to revive pagan modes of thought " ; and 
"evacuating Christianity of all its spiritual and supernatural elements." 2 

The spread of Pelagianism in Britain, under the teaching of one Agricola, 
son of a Pelagian Bishop Severianus, gained for the island the honour of 

a visit from St. Germanus the Bishop of Auxerre, to which we 
St. Gernumus. . . . * *-* 

shall refer again (a.d. 429). The action of Germanus was 

prompted we are told by Pope Celestine ; his intervention again having 
been invited by the deacon Palladius, doubtless a Briton, who 
himself two years later was entrusted by Celestine with an 
episcopal mission to the Scots, i.e. the Irish (a.d. 43 1). 3 Palladius went 
to Ireland, but proved unfitted for the work : he made no impression on 
the Irish. Returning to North Britain he preached with more success to 
the Picts, and eventually died at Fordun in the Mearns (Kincardine- 
shire). 4 

Of St. Patrick, " Patricius," or, as the name must have been pronounced, 

" Patrikius," we have personal records in two compositions at any rate 

C.+ t> + • 1 tnat nave come down to us from his pen, namely his Confession 

and the Epistle to the Christian Subjects of Coroticus? Both 

writings are of extreme interest, if only as being the earliest prose that 

1 See the summary given by Prosper of Aquitaine under the year '413. M. H. B., 

2 See Dr. W. Ince's article on Pelagius in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography, 
and the authorities there given ; also Haddan and Stubbs, sup., 15. 

3 Prosper of Aquitaine, sup. ; Haddan and Stubbs, I. 15, 16. 

4 Tripartite Life of St. Patrick (ed. Whitley Stokes, Rolls Series), pp. 272, 332, 419 ; 
citing Irish Nennius, p. 106 (ed. Todd). 

5 Coroticus is identified with the " Coirthech regem Aloo " of Muirchu, the biographer 
of St. Patrick. If so he was prince of Dumbarton. W. Stokes, Trip. Life, 271, citing 
Sir Samuel Ferguson. "Aloo" we must take for a corrupt form of Alclyth = Dumbarton. 

a.d. 3 87?-46 9 ?] PATRICK in 

can be attributed to a native of these islands. 1 The epistle is a remon- 
strance addressed to Romano-Britons, countrymen of the writer, reproach- 
ing them for making war on Christian Irishmen, Patrick's men, carrying 
off their goods, killing some, and selling others as slaves to unconverted 
Scots and apostate Picts. The Confession is an Apologia pro Vita Stta, 
addressed to his friends in Britain, 2 and explaining his position with 
reference to the central event of his life, namely his episcopate and mission 
and the initial difficulties that he had to contend with. 

For Patrick was not one of those men who are called to greatness by 
the voice of their age. On the contrary, his mission was opposed on all 
hands, apparently on account of his defective education ; 3 and was only 
carried out by his own indomitable faith and purpose. His Confession 
therefore is a spiritual autobiography of singular interest. 

The few facts that he records about his birth and parentage are preg- 
nant with information. At the age of sixteen he was carried off from his 
father's farm at Ba7inavem Tabemicc, and sold into Ireland, 4 
Hl ^ f g rly 'with thousands of others,' a Celtic hyperbole. Bannavem 
has not been identified ; it may have been the mouth of a 
stream ; but it is generally admitted to have been situate in basin of the 
Clyde. 5 Patrick goes on to say that he was the son of one Calpornius a 
deacon ; who was son of one Potitus ; who again was son of Odissus a 
priest. Elsewhere he adds that his father was a decurio, and that he him- 
self forfeited the privileges of his birth {nobilitatem) by taking Holy 
Orders. From this we learn that the Latin language and a Christian 
Church 7 had been established on the banks of the Clyde for at least three 
generations before the times of Patrick. We also learn that the British 
clergy were not restrained from marriage, while the use of the word decurio 
would imply that the Roman municipal system was established in the same 
district. It certainly proves that Roman custom had supplanted native 
custom ; a fact not to be gathered elsewhere. 8 

1 Besides these a fine hymn is ascribed to St. Patrick and certain "Dicta Patricii " ; 
Trip. Life, 49, 301. 

2 " Opto fratribus et cognatis meis scire qualitatem meam," etc., Id., 359. 

8 " Multi banc legationem prohibebant. . . . Non ut causa malitie ; sed propter 
rusticitatem meam," p. 371. Again "Ego peccator rusticissimus," "rusticus profliga," 
" rusticationem ab Altissimo creatam," etc. 

4 " Hyberione" (indecl.) ; this is the form used throughout by Patrick, a Welsh form, 
as I am informed by Mr. Rhys. 

5 Cf. the tradition representing Patrick to have been born at Nemthor, otherwise Ail 
Cluade, otherwise Dunbarton ; Trip. Life, 413 : also the extract, 494. 

6 Confession ; Trip. Life, 357. 

7 See also the reference to the Saccrdotes, the ministering clergy of his country, lb. 

8 Patrick's use of the word decurio may be taken in a general sense, just as his refer- 
ence to his own loss of status by taking Holy Orders must be taken in a general sense. 
His father was a decurio though a deacon. It would seem that the tonsure " as a mild 
form of mutilation " was a symbol of servitude, the priest becoming servus Dei : a pagan 
survival, Rhys, C. B., 72. 

ii2 DAYS OF CAPTIVITY [a.d. 387 ?- 4 6 9 ? 

In Ireland Patrick became the property of a chief, Miliuc by name, 3 
Cautivitv wno set h * m t0 k ee P ^' ls swine 2 on ' the Mountain of Miss,' i.e. 
Sliab Miss, now Slemish in Antrim. 3 Six years Patrick served 


Hitherto Patrick, according to his own account, had led a careless, 
boyish life. In the loneliness of his captivity the Lord ' opened his eyes 

of unbelief ' {aperirit sensum incrediilitatis) ; and he gave him- 
Change. se ^ t0 f astm g an d prayer. One night he heard a voice 4 in a 

dream, ' Thy ship is ready.' 
In the life of Patrick, as in those of St. Dunstan, Joan of Arc, and other 
highly-strung natures, dreams played an important part. 

Obedient to the warning, Patrick made his way to the coast, as he seems 
to say, a distance of 200 miles. Sure enough a ship was there. After 

some demur the captain took him on board. The crew proved 

to be heathen, and Patrick tells us that at first he hesitated to 
fraternize with them. 5 After three (?) days' sail they landed, and then 
ensued a journey of eight-and-twenty days through desert places. On the 
way provisions failed ; their dogs, one by one, dropped down to die for 
want of food. Patrick's companions taunted him, ' How now, Christian, 
where is thy God ? where are thy prayers ? ' 7 ' Nay ! ' retorted he, ' turn 
in faith to the Lord, and ye may yet be saved.' Patrick was justified : a 
herd of swine came across their path, and all feasted and were refreshed. 
At last they ' came to men,' 8 that is to say, as we suppose, to men akin to 
the rovers. But poor Patrick again found himself a slave. The second 
captivity, however, lasted just sixty days, and no more. 9 

1 Muirchu, Trip. Life, 275 ; Tirechan, Id., 302. 

2 Patrick writes "pecora" ; but all the Irish traditions agree that the animals that he 
tended were swine. 

3 "Juxtamontem Miss." See the Notes by Muirchu, and the Collections of Tire- 
chan, as preserved in the Book of Armagh, Trip. Life, 276, 302. The Book of Armagh 
was transcribed in the year 807. "Muirchu professes to write in obedience to the com- 
mands of Bishop Aed of Slethy, who died a.d. 698. . . . Bishop Tirechan is said 
to have written from the dictation, or copied from a book of bishop Ultan of Ardbraccan, 
who died a.d. 656." W. Stokes, Trip. Life, xci. It may be noted that the Book of 
Armagh suppresses some passages in the Confession thought derogatory to Patrick : 
these are supplied by other MSS. The Collections of Muirchu and Tirechan, with the 
Confession and the Epistle, seem the only trustworthy authorities for the life of St. 

4 " Andivi responsum" This is the word always used by Patrick for these monitions. 

5 The phrase employed is most primitive, " Sugere Mammelas eorum." Confession,, 
siip., 361, 362. According to Irish tradition, Patrick sailed from the mouth of the Boyne. 
That would be 100 miles as the crow flies from the place of his captivity in Antrim. 
Notes on Fiacc's Hymn, Trip. Life, 417. 

6 "Per disertum." 

7 " Quid est Christiane ? Tu dicis Deus tuns magnus et omnipotens est," etc. 

8 " Pervenimus ad homines." 

9 Confession, 362, 363 ; Muirchu, sup. , 269. 

a.d. 3 87?-46 9 ?] ADVENTURES AND STRUGGLES 113 

Of the nationality of his shipmates, or the lands to which they took 
him, Patrick tells us not one word ; but a journey of eight-and-tvventy days 
through uninhabited country points to the Continent rather than Britain : 
his own narrative seems to imply the lapse of some years before his return 
home {post paucos annos) ; and Irish tradition informs us that in fact he 
wandered for seven years in Gaul and Italy. 1 It may be that during this 
period he took Holy Orders ; because he tells us that on his return to his 
parents after some years, a long struggle 2 ensued over his declared purpose 
of returning to Ireland as a missionary. His friends protested ; 

Purpose, while voices from Ireland kept begging him to come over. 
The use of the word ' boy,' as applied to himself at this time 
(Rogamus te sancte puer ut venias, etc.), implies that he was still quite a 
young man ; but it is not incompatible with the view that he may have 
been about thirty years old when he returned home. 3 If so a further 
period of fifteen years and upwards must have elapsed before he attained 
to the episcopate. 

His friends eventually sent him to St. Germanus, in Gaul, to obtain 
a sanction for his mission. He was met by the news that Palladius had 
been appointed by Celestine to the Irish mission (a.d. 431), and so again 
his aspirations seemed doomed to be disappointed. 4 It may be, however, 
that the appointment of Palladius had been brought about by 
encountered. Patrick's agitation for a mission to Ireland. Patrick was still 
in Gaul, waiting and hoping, when reports of the failure and 
death of Palladius were received ; 5 and then his instances could no longer 
be withstood. A friend, in fact one whom he describes as his greatest 
friend (amicissimus meus), to whom he had opened his very soul (cut ego 
credidi etiam animavi), promised to consecrate him; and did, in fact, 
' designate' him as bishop. 6 

1 Confession, 364 ; Tirechan, sup., 302. 

2 " Deo gratias quia post plurimos annos prsestitit illis (sc. the Irish) secundum 
clamorem eorum," Con/., sup. 

3 So the Brussels MS. of Muirchu, Trip. Life, 496. Besides the notes above quoted 
from Tirechan, Muirchu gives a further fact, on the authority of Bishop Ultan, that 
Patrick was in an island '• qucs'dicitur Aralanensis" (qy. Arelatensis => Aries ?) " annis 
xxx.' If this means that Patrick was thirty'years at Aries or anywhere else on the Conti- 
nent it cannot be reconciled with Patrick's own data ; but it may mean that he was there 
in his thirtieth year, p. 302. 

4 Muirchu, 270, 272, 496. The Confession gives no hint of this episode, or of any- 
thing connected with Palladius. Nothing is said of Patrick in the Life of Germanus, 
by Constantius, of Lyons, written about forty years after the death of Germanus, nor in 
the metrical rendering of that Life, by Hericus or Hiericus, written 860-870 ; Acta SS., 
XXXIX. 213, 234, 31st July. But a supplementary prose Life of Germanus, apparently 
written by the same Hericus, states that Patrick did study with Germanus for eighteen (?) 
years, and that Germanus had the highest opinion of him. Id., p. 270. 

5 Muirchu, sup. 

% " ' Etiam mihi ipse ore suo dixerat,' * Ecce, dandus es tu ad gradum episcopatus,' ' 
Confession, 366. 

R. H. T 

ii 4 FINAL CONSECRATION [a.d. 3 S7?-46 9 ? 

But the * rhetoricians ' 1 were still hostile ; and produced a last and 
most unkind objection, based on some trespass committed by Patrick 
thirty years previously, when he was barely fifteen years old, before he had 
been carried off to Ireland, before his faith had been 
oblecSon enn g nteneo ^ by suffering. The transgression had been dis- 
closed by Patrick in confession before taking deacon's orders ; 
and, apparently, to this same 'dearest friend.' 2 By this man we must 
understand Germanus, though the part ascribed to him does not seem 
creditable. The offence of poor Patrick had clearly become known 
through him, in one way or another ; and when the objection was raised 
he allowed it at once. 3 

Patrick thought himself lost, once and for ever {ut caderem hie et in 
cetemum), when a timely vision finally turned the scale in his favour. He 
saw a tablet held up before him with a representation of his own face on 
it, and his name written beneath, but without episcopal title. 
Then came a Voice, ' The face of the Designate with only his 
bare name pleases us not.' 4 ' Mark,' says Patrick to his friends, ' he said 
not ' pleases you not,' but ' pleases Us not,' making himself one with me. 
How or by whom Patrick was ultimately consecrated bishop remains a 
complete mystery. Two traditions on the subject were current from an 
early period. According to the one Germanus sent him to 
0rd iast. a tne P°P e > given as Celestine, with a personal recommenda- 
tion entrusted to one Segetius, a presbyter. From Celestine 
Patrick would have received his mission. 5 But Celestine died in the year 
432, before the failure of Palladius could well have been ascertained. 

According to the other account, Patrick's friends took him to one 
Amatorex, by whom he was consecrated without further ado. 6 Whoever 

1 " Et vos Domini ignari rethorici audite," etc. Conf., 360. 

2 "Nam post annos triginta invenerunt me et ad versus verbum quod confessus fueram 
ante quod essem diaconus. Propter anxietatem mesto animo insinuavi amicissimo meo 
quae in pueritia mea una die gesseram .... Nescio, Deus scit, si habebam tunc 
annos quindecim, etc." On this single reference to the lapse of a period of thirty years' 
rest all the thirty-year periods — four at last^introduced into Patrick's life, by which it 
was brought up to the space of 120 years ; namely, thirty years of early life, thirty years 
in Gaul, and twice thirty years in Ireland. 

3 See Patrick's bitter complaint of his friend's change of attitude, "Sed unde venit 
illi post modum ut coram cunctis bonis et malis in me puplice dehonestaret quod ante 
sponte at letus indulserat ? " Conf., 366. 

4 " Vidi in visu noctis scriptum erat contra faciem meam sine honore, . . . Male 
vidimus faciem designati nudato nomine," lb. 

5 So Tirechan, 332 ; and Hericus, sup., p. 270, quoting "Gesta" Patricii. Muirchu 
also distinctly records a recommendation to the Pope by Germanus, through " Segitius," 
p. 272, though he goes on to record the alternative story of consecration by Amatorex. 

6 Muirchu, sup. Later writers combined the two accounts, making Patrick to have 
been ordained by Amatorex in the presence of Celestine. Notes on Fiacc's Hymn, 
Trip. Life, 421. The name Amatorex does not inspire confidence. St. Amator was 
Bishop of Auxerre before Germanus. 

a.d. 3S7M69?] AND MISSION 115 

consecrated him it is clear that he was helped with friends and assistance 
from Gaul. 1 

Patrick returned to Ireland never to leave it again. He landed at the 
mouth of the river Vartry, " Where the town of Wicklow now stands." 
We cannot follow him in his missionary career. It is enough 
Ireland. t0 sa y tnat m tne course of thirty years and upwards he 
traversed the whole of Ireland, baptising converts, ordaining 
clergy, and consecrating monks and nuns. It is clear that although not 
himself a monk his sympathies were monastic, and that he imparted a 
monastic character to the Irish Church from the first. To him directly or 
indirectly we must ascribe the unique form of church government, found 
only in Ireland and places in North Britain, to which it was carried from 
Ireland, namely, that of " Government by abbots, with bishops as sub- 
ordinate officers, discharging episcopal functions, but without jurisdiction." 

One more incident may be noticed as showing either the scrupulosity or 
the tact of the man. Almost his first act on entering Ulster was to seek 
out his old master, Miliuc, in order to tender double the amount of which 
he had defrauded him by running away. 3 

From one point of view the Confession is disappointing reading. St. 
Patrick had wandered far and seen much. He could have given us 
precious notices of the state of Great Britain, Ireland, or Gaul. But 
nothing had any interest for Patrick that was not connected with his 
spiritual life and work, and so of mundane things he tells nothing. 

Britain abandoned by the Romans soon found itself in a helpless 

condition. When the army was withdrawn the existing machinery of 

government fell to the ground. "The old tribal divisions, 

Britain! which had never been really extinguished by Roman rule, 
rose from their hiding-places." Mushroom princes sprang up, 
with the old never-ending squabbles and dissensions. 5 Men of property 
must soon have found that for them independence meant the loss of 
everything they had to lose. If an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 
may be trusted, a final exodus of Roman capital took place in the year 

1 Tirechan, 303. 2 Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, I. 143. 

3 Tirechan, 275. For the dates of Patrick's life, the primary datum is his own statement, 
above noticed, to the effect that he was forty-five (thirty and fifteen) years old when his 
claims to an episcopal mission began to be entertained. That must have been immediately 
after the death of Palladius, say 432 or 433, and that will bring Patrick's birth to the 
year 387 or 388. Tirechan, p. 303, asserts that Patrick died 436 years after the Passion of 
Christ, = a.d. 469. The Annales Cambria; and the annals of Ulster place his death in 
457- For further details of Patrick's life see Dr. J. Henthorn Todd's work ; Professor 
G. T. Stokes' Ireland and the Celtic Church ; and his article in the Dictionary of 
Christian Biography. 

4 Stubbs, Const. Hist., I. 60. Gildas names Constantinus 'tyrant' of Damnonia, and 
Vortiporius of the Demetce ; Epistola, M. H. B., 16, 17. 

So Gildas, " augebantur extranece clades domesticis motibus." Hist., c. 16 ; M. H. 
B., p. 11. 

n6 ANARCHY [a.d. 429-430 

418, the island having already fallen into utter confusion. 'Here {i.e. 
in this year) the Romans gathered all gold-hoards that on Britain were ; 
and some in [the] earth they hidden so that them nane man sythen finden 
ne might ; and some with them onto Gallia they ledden.' * It must 
be added that the "finds" of coin belonging to this period suggest a 
hasty flight of the rich under some sudden panic. 

Britain was a derelict ship, abandoned of her crew. The question was 
who would take possession ? At first it seemed as if the struggle would 
lie between the Northern tribes and the sea-rovers, both old enemies. But 
the Picts and Scots failed to establish any settlements on the old Roman 
territory, unless perhaps between the walls. 2 The prize was reserved for 
men of sterner stuff and Teutonic blood. 

A glimpse of the state of Britain is given us through the mission of St. 

Germanus already referred to. The mission had been recommended by 

Pope Celestine at the suggestion of Palladius, and was sanc- 

^ermanus** tioned ^ a Gallic s y nod ( A - D - 4 2 9)* Bishop Lupus, of 
Troyes, accompanied Germanus. The two went over in time 
of winter (a.d. 429-430?), and did something towards their end of winning 
back the Britons from Pelagianism. In a public disputation held at 
Verulam they are said to have utterly refuted their adversaries. 3 But 
the incident with which we are now concerned is the victory gained by 
the Britons under the leadership of Germanus over a mixed body of 
Saxons 4 and Picts. The battle was apparently fought on 
H Victory; h Easter Day, 5 and local tradition places the site at Maes 
Germon, near Mold, in Flintshire. Germanus, who was an old 
soldier and sportsman, and who had been a ' duke ' before being a bishop, 
drew up his men in a valley between hills, with ambush parties on the 
flanking slopes in front. 6 As the enemy advanced to the attack, at a 
given signal, a triumphant ' Hallelujah ! ' was raised. The men in ambush 
joining in, the hills and woods re-echoed the cry. The enemy, panic- 
stricken, dispersed in flight. 7 The appearance of Saxons and Picts, 

1 See the Chronicle in anno. It may be consulted with translations in the M. H. B., 
or in Dr. Thorpe's ed., Rolls Series, No. 32, or without translation in Mr. Earle's Two 
of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel. 

2 So apparently Gildas, " Aquilonalem extremamque terrre partem pro indigenis muro 
tenus capessunt," i.e. " Scotorum Pictorumquegreges," Hist., c. 15, M. H. B. 

3 See Haddan and Stubbs, I. 16-18. It was on this occasion that the tomb of St. 
Alban was visited by Germanus. 

4 The name occurs twice in the narrative of Constantius, and is given by every MS. ; 
also by the metrical rendering of the work by Hericus, Acta SS., XXXIV. b. iv. c. I. 

5 The bulk of the Britons are said to have been ' baptised ' on the day (madidus 
baptismate exercitns). It has been inferred that they had never been baptised before. 
We would suggest either that they were re-baptised to purge them from Pelagianism, or 
that the ■ baptism ' was a ceremonial washing in honour of the day. 

6 " In insidiis constitute " 

7 See Constantius of Lyons, De Vita Germani, Acta SS., xxxiv. (31 July), b. I. c. 6. 

a.d. 429-447] AND PELAGIANISM 117 

acting in concert South of the Mersey in the year 429, is a significant 
fact. 1 

For sixteen years we have nothing on record, except a dim picture 

of ever-increasing disorder, until even the tillage of the soil began to 

The ■ Groans ^' * n 44^ a * ast P lt:eoils appeal for help was addressed to 

of the yEtius, the Master General of Valentinian III. 'To ^Etius 

n ons. thrice consul the groans of the Britons. The barbarians drive 

us to the sea ; the sea drives us back to the barbarians ; we are either 

slaughtered or drowned.' 2 

/Etius had done much to restore the Imperial authority in Gaul, but 
he could extend no help to Britain. The Britons were left to struggle 
with their own difficulties. 

But with all the gloom of their surroundings, perhaps for that very 
reason, the Britons were still deeply interested in church questions. In 
447 the help of St. Germanus was again invoked to quell the tide of 
Pelagianism. On this occasion he brought with him Severus, 
oVGermanus recentl y appointed Bishop of Upper Germany (Germania 
Prima), with his seat at Treves. Little is recorded of this 
mission, which apparently did not travel far inland, probably on account 
of the state of the country. Germanus, however, advised the Britons 
to make short work of the heretics by expelling them from their coasts. 3 

Some three years later Hengist and Horsa landed in Kent. 4 The 

fact is put before us almost as if this was the first occasion on which 

' Saxons ' had been heard of in British history. Of course, 

He ^rsa and for a centur y and a half tne island had been only too familiar 

with their predatory attacks. The south-eastern seaboard of 

Great Britain, as well as the opposite coast of Flanders, were known 

as ' The Saxon Coasts,' the coasts exposed to Saxon landings ; and to 

guard against Saxon piracy was the distinctive duty of the second 

military officer in Britain, the ' Count of the Saxon Shore.' But if 

Teutonic rovers were no new sight to Roman or British eyes we may 

Permanent believe tnat the traditions of the invading race rightly gave 

Settlements, the landing of the Jutish chiefs as marking the beginning 

His narrative is embodied by Boeda, H. E., I. 20. Constantius wrote 473-492. It 
is possible that the 18th chapter of Gildas' History may contain a reference to this victory, 
but it is placed out of date, after the year 446. For the supposed allusion in Gregory I.'s 
works, see Haddan and Stubbs, III. 14. The allusion is really to St. Augustine's work. 

1 The year 429 is one of the dates given by Nennius, that is to say the date given by 
one of the authorities worked up by him, as that of the landing of the Anglo-Saxons. 

2 Gildas, Hist., c. 15-19; Bceda, H E., I. 13; M. H B. y II, 94, 119. I give 
the date, as usually given, that of the 3rd consulship of JEthis ; I think it more likely, 
however, that the letter was sent after his 3rd consulship, say, 446-450. 

3 " Ut pravitatis authores expulsi ab insula sacerdotibus adducantur ad mediterranea 
•diferendi." Constantius, De Vita Germani; Haddan and Stubbs, I. 13 ; also given by 
Boeda, I. 21 ; and Nennius, c. 30. As Germanus probably died in 448, the date is fixed. 

4 Baeda, Hist. Eccl., I. c. 15, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a.d. 449. See more below. 

n8 HENGIST AND HORSA [a.d. 450 

of a new era, that of permanent conquest. The period of desultory 
ravages was past, the period of agrarian settlement had begun. 

We shall find that the first recorded settlements are all placed on the 
south coast, the history of the northern settlements being left in darkness. 
This would seem to leave the question of possible earlier settlements 
on eastern coasts an open one. But the reader must be informed of 
a fact which will probably be new to most people, namely, that for 
the ages with which we are now dealing, and for centuries later, the 
regular course of navigation from North Germany and Denmark to 
Britain was down the Frisian and Flemish coasts, say to Cape Gris Nez, 
and from thence over to the Kentish coast. This was the route taken 
by the great Cnut in his journeys to and from Denmark; this was the route 
of the Danish armaments sent against England in the time of the 
Conqueror. From the Kentish coast the fleets might either turn north- 
wards up the east coast, or westwards along the south coast, but Kent 
was the first place where, in the ordinary course of things, they would 
enter a British harbour. Of the course of the invading stream of settlers 
that flowed westwards we shall have some account ; of the stream that 
flowed northwards to East Anglia and Northumbria nothing has come 
down to us. 


Teutonic Settlement of Great Britain — The Jutes, Angles, and Saxons — Course of 
Conquests on southern, eastern, and northern coasts — The Heptarchy — Indepen- 
dent Celtic Principalities — Ambrosius Aurelianus — The Arthurian Legend 

HOWEVER satisfied we may feel of an extensive survival of Celtic 
population even in the districts properly called " England," we 
must nevertheless fully admit that we owe all the dominant elements of 
our blood, our language, and our institutions to the conquering 
Britain! 1 Teutons ', and that in the lands occupied by them the pre- 
existing races, if not exterminated or expelled, were absorbed 
and assimilated to a surprising extent. This result must be ascribed to 
the strength of character, pride of race, and tenacious conservatism of 
the conquerors. They came as armed settlers with their flocks and their 
herds, 1 their wives and their little ones. They entered at once into the 
fruits of other men's labours ; they found fenced cities that they had not 
built ; roads and bridges that they had not made ; fields and meadows that 
they had not sown. 

These invaders belonged to three closely-connected nations : the Jutes, 
Angles, and Saxons ; all sprung from the same Low German or Dutch 
stock, and all speaking dialects of the same old Low German or Dutch 
tongue. 8 

The Saxons had been known from the time of Ptolemy, who mentions 
three ' Islands of the Saxons,' 3 apparently referring to the islands at the 
mouths of the Elbe or Weser. Apart from this indirect notice, 
' the Saxons are first found as settled in modern Hanover and 
Oldenburg, between the Lower Elbe and Frisia, their borders perhaps 
extending into Holstein. Their piratical ravages had made them the 
terror of Western Europe as early as a.d. 287, as we have seen. 

Probably the tribes, known in earlier history as the C/ierusa, the Marsi, 
the Dulgebini, and the Chauci may then have passed as Saxons ; just as 
the tribes previously known as the Sigambri^ the Salii, and the Ubii 
came to be classed as Franks. " Whilst the nations on the Lower Rhine 
were all becoming Franks, those between the Rhine and the Oder were 

1 The bones of the cattle found in the early Anglo-Saxon burials prove them to have 
been of breeds different from the British breeds. Stubbs, Const. Hist., I. 64. 

2 Anglo-Saxon is said to be an amalgamation of broken-up dialects. "There is no 
proof that it was ever spoken anywhere out of Britain." G. P. Marsh, Lectures on 
English Language. 3 . " ~2a£ovuv vtjctol rpeis." 


120 TEUTONIC TRIBES [a.d. 450 

becoming Saxons." * By the British Celts the name " Sassenach," Saxons, 
has always been applied to the whole Anglo-Saxon kin. 

Of the three invading peoples we shall find the Saxons occupying 
Britain south of the Thames, plus Essex, but minus Kent and the parts of 
Hampshire taken by the Jutes. 

North of the Saxon border lay the home of the Angles, established 
perhaps in Holstein, certainly in Schleswig, where the name " Engeln " still 
preserves their memory. Alfred recognised Haithaby, now 
' Schleswig, as the original headquarters of the ' English.' 2 
They furnished the largest proportion of the invading hosts, occupying 
the eastern half of Britain, from the Thames to the Esk, if not to the 
Forth, and gave their name to England, "Engla-land." The entire nation 
appears to have come over in the migration ; their name disappearing 
from Continental history. In the time of Basda their original territory 
was still lying waste and untenanted, between the Continental Saxons and 
the Jutes. 3 

The fatherland of these last, therefore, must be placed still further 
North, in the peninsula that still bears their name, "Jutland." They only 
The J te came over m small numbers, occupying Kent, parts of Hamp- 
shire, and the Isle of Wight. 4 

Bands of Frisians and other cognate tribes may also perhaps have come 
over, but of these no definite account can be given. 

According to Basda, our only real authority on this point, the Jutish 
chiefs Hengist and Horsa landed in Britain in the first year of the joint 
reign of the Emperors Marcian and Valentinian III. 5 (25th August 450- 

1 Stubbs, Const. Hist., I. 41. The 'Old Saxony' of Baeda, Alfred, and other old- 
English writers extended southwards to the Weser and the basin of the Rhine. Lappen- 
berg's Anglo-Saxon Kings, I. 87 {ed. Thorpe). 

2 So his Orosius, c. 20. Elton's Origins, 370, 371. 

3 " Patria quae Angulus dicitur ab eo tempore usque hodie manere desertus inter pro- 
vincias Iutarum et Saxonum perhibetur." Baeda, Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglo- 
rum, I. c. 15 (English Historical Society). This well-known writer was born about 
the year 674 and died in 734, having spent his life in the monasteries of Wearmouth and 
Jarrow. See below. 

4 Baeda, sup. Archaeological research confirms his statements as to the districts occu- 
pied by the different nations. One type of brooch or fibula is found mostly in Kent and 
the Isle of Wight ; evidently the Jutish brooch : another is found in the Anglic districts ; 
and a third in some of the west-Saxon districts. Wright, Celt, Roman, and Saxon, 

5 H.E., I. 15. Baeda's words in strictness only imply that the landing took place 
during the joint reign of the two Emperors, i.e. 450-455. But it is pretty clear that he 
meant the first year of the joint reign, and he gives 449 as that year, which is wrong. 
The A. S. Chronicle copies him. The date in a general way is confirmed by Gildas, who 
places the landing not long after the appeal made to ^Etius, in or after his third consul- 
ship, a.d. 446-450. Nennius gives different dates in different places, according to the 
different authorities copied. One date is 'forty years after the end of the Roman occu- 
pation,' c. 28, and Epitome; M.H.B., 50, 62. This tallies exactly with the year 450; 

a.d. 450] FIRST SETTLEMENTS 121 

24th August, 45 1). 1 Tradition had it that three ceols, or long galleys, con- 
veyed their force. 2 They landed at " Ypwines Fleot," now Ebbsfleet in 
Thanet, near Minster on the Stour, which was then a navigable estuary, 

and a favourite entrance to the Thames from the South. The 
6 Kent! m handing-place was well-chosen, as Thanet being in those days 

a real island, cut off from the mainland by an arm of the sea, 
could easily be defended by a moderate force. 3 

Gildas has it that the strangers had been deliberately called in by the 
'tyrant' Guthrigernus, duke (dux) of the Britons, to resist Northern 
enemies, whom the writer supposed to be Picts. Nennius, with more 
probability, tells us that the strangers were roving ' exiles,' and that the 
first thing they did was to fortify a camp. 4 It seems hardly necessary to 
point out that if these men had been imported for service against northern 
enemies they would not have been quartered in Thanet. It was the habit 
of Gildas to ascribe everything to British agency : and it may be that he 
preferred to ascribe a mistaken policy to his countrymen rather than no 
policy at all : at any rate it is clear that national vanity made a scape-goat 
of the prince whose name was traditionally associated with the settlement 
of the English in Kent. 

Whatever the circumstances, it would seem that Thanet was yielded 
without a blow. A footing having been secured, reports of the ' goodness ' 
of the land and the ' naught-ness ' 5 of the inhabitants, induced fresh bands 

but Nennius himself had no idea when the Roman occupation ended. Another passage 
seems to point to the year 429, the date of Germanus' first mission. The Pseudo- 
Prosper gives the year 441 as that of the subjugation of Britain by the Saxons ; and this 
apparently was the date recognised by Alcuin, who, writing in 793, said that Britain had 
been inhabited by his countrymen "nearly 150 years." Epp. No. 9. Haddan and 
Stubbs, III. 476, 493. 

1 Gibbon, IV. 219. 

2 "Tribus ut lingua ejus exprimitur cyulis, nostra lingua longis navibus," Gildas, 
Hist., c. 23. The names Hengist and Horsa are given by Boeda, sup. Hengist appears 
in the Geographer of Ravenna as "Anschis," M.H.B., xxiv. 

3 C. J. Solinus, M.H.B., x. Nennius gives Ruichim, or Ruoichim, as the British name 
of Thanet ; but " Adtanatos insula " occurs in Solinus, sup., and " Tanatos " in Baeda. 

4 Hist., cc. 28, 36, M.H.B. Gildas, a Romanised Briton, was apparently born 
about the year 516, and wrote when he was 44 years old. He has left us a Historia de 
Excidio Britannia?, and an Epistola, a Lamentation on the state of his country 
{M.H.B. , and English Historical Society, Stevenson). Eor the Historia Britonum of 
Nennius, a 9th century compilation, see list of authorities. 

5 " Nahtnesse," Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, A. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, as it has 
been usually termed, is really a series of distinct chronicles, with a common basis. The 
common basis is the chronicle started at Winchester in the reign of Alfred (MS. Corpus 
Christi Coll., Cambridge, clxxiii.) cited as A. It begins with the year B.C. 60, and 
extends to a.d. 1070; but practically ends in 975. The Abingdon Chronicle (MS. 
Cott. Tiberius B., I.) extends from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the year 1066. It 
will be cited as C. The Worcester Chronicle (MS. Cott. Tiberius B., iv.) extends from 
the Incarnation to a.d. 1079, and will be cited as D. The Peterborough Chronicle 
(MS. Bodl. Laud., 636) extends from the Incarnation to A.D. 1154, and will be cited as 

122 THE SOUTH [a.d. 455-48S 

to follow. But five years were needed for the conquest of East Kent. 

The line of the Medway was not reached till the year 455, when " Wyrt- 

georne," was defeated at Aylesfoi^d. Horsa was kilted in the action ; but 

Hengist apparently thought his position such as to justify the 

H ELng t assumption of Royal dignity; his son ^Esc being associated 

with him, 1 as if to play the part of Caesar to the Augustus of 

East Kent. 

Two years later the invaders entered West Kent, crossing the Darent at 
Dartford and defeating the Britons at Crayford with great slaughter. We 
are told that the rout was so complete that the Britons ' forsook Kent and 
retired to London.' 2 

Nennius, the British writer, records four battles in connexion with the 
struggle in Kent, all apparently given as creditable to his countrymen. 
In the first Hengist and his men were driven into Thaner, a most amusing- 
inversion of the apparent fact. The second and third were respectively 
fought " super flumen Derevent" ; and " super vadum . . . Episford' 6 
. . . et ibi cecidit Horsa." These two are obviously the actions at 
Aylesford and Crayford, given in the wrong order. The fourth battle was 
fought "juxta Lapidem Tituli qui est super ripam Gallici maris" i.e. Stonar, 
near Sandwich. 4 At that time it overlooked the sea. 

Eight years later we have another great battle in which twelve ' Welsh 
Ealdermen' fell, and one English 'thane'; from whom the place was 
named " Wippedes fleot," but the site has not been determined. 

Hengist continued to press the Britons Mike fire.' But Kent, situate 
in a corner between the Thames on one side and the Forest of Anderid 
on the other side and bisected by the Medway, was never fated to retain 
the lead in the affairs of Britain. Hengist at his death could only 
bequeath Kent and nothing more to his son ^sc (a.d. 488). 5 

But before that a fresh attack on the South coast had been made by 
the Saxons, who, under the leadership of ^Elle and his sons, Cymen, Wlenc- 

Saxon ing and Cissa, landed in 477 at ' Cymenes ora.' 6 This place 
Landings. ^as not; ^ een dearly made out, but the name of Cissa seems to 

Sussex, be preserved in that of " Cissan-cester," Chichester , 7 the new 

E. There are also several other continuations of the original Winchester Chronicle 
of which the most noteworthy is the Canterbury Chronicle (MS. Cott. Tiberius A., vi. ff. 
1-34), which will be cited as B. See Mr. Earle's Introduction to Two of the 
Saxon Chronicles Parallel (Clarendon Press, 1865). 

1 " ^lifter )>am Hengest feng to rice and yEsc his sunu," Chron. A. ; conf. Nennius, c. 
47, M.H.B. The flint heap of Horsted is supposed to mark Horsa's grave. Guest's 
Early English Settlements, p. 48 ; cited Green, Makers of England, 46. An inscribed 
stone stood there in Breda's time. 2 Chron. A. 

3 "In nostra lingua Sathenegabail " (al. " Rithergabail "). Dr. Guest gives the 
Welsh, Sydden-y-cenbail, as=" House of ferry-boat." 

4 Nennius, cc. 46, 47. 5 Chron. A. 6 Ora = shore, haven. 

7 Earle, Saxon Chronicles Parallel, 281. The best suggestion for Cymenesora seems 
that of Ingram, Shoreham, quasi Cymeneshoreham. lb. 

a.d. 477-534] COASTS 123 

name given to the Roman town of Regnum. But the land of the 

Regni, cut off from the interior by the Forest of Anderid, extending from 

Romney Marsh to the borders of our Hampshire, was even less fitted 

than that of Kent " to serve as a starting-point in any attack on Britain 

at large." The' kingdom of the South Saxons had no future in store for 

it ; and indeed fourteen years elapsed before /Elle and Cissa were able 

to reduce the border fastness of Anderedescester, now Pevensey. 1 But 

the slow progress of the conquest proves that in point of numbers the 

invaders must have been very weak. 

A really promising opening was at last secured when the Jutes and 

Saxons established themselves on Southampton Water, with an open 

country before them, and Roman roads to lead East, and 
Hampshire. . 

North, and West into the heart of the interior. 

The record of the facts however is dim, and in some respects open to 
suspicion. We seem to have two traditions strung together by the 
chronicler of the house of Wessex, and placed to the credit 
of his master's ancestors. First we are told that the Ealder- 
men Cerdic and his son Cynric, the undoubted founders of the dynasty > 
landed in 495 at a place called " Cerdices Ora," and that day by day they 
fought the Britons. Then in 501 we have "Port" landing at -'Portes- 
mutha," i.e. Portsmouth, a place that bore the name of Portus in Roman 
times. Again in 508 Cerdic and Cynric defeat the Britons in a signal 
engagement, in which the native 'king' " Natan-leod," 2 i.e. 'Prince 
Nechtan,' fell. Then six years later we have the entry, ' Here came the 
West Saxons to Britain and fought against the Britons,' as if that was their 
first appearance. 3 In 519 Cerdic and Cynric 'took the king- 
o?WiXt dom': 4 in 530 they subdued the Isle of Wight; and cap- 
tured "Wihtgarsesbyrig," Carisbrook; and in 534 Cerdic died. & 
Here we may notice, first, that Cerdic is made to live and fight for nine 
and thirty years after he landed with a grown up son ; and secondly, that 
nothing is said of the Jutes, whose establishment in Hampshire and the 
Isle of Wight rests upon the indisputable authority of Beda. 6 As a con- 
jecture we may suggest that the settlements prior to 514 were those of the 
Jutes ; and that the conquest of the Isle of Wight by Cerdic in 530 was 
the political subjugation of the insular Jutes or " Wiht-garas." The Jutes 

1 A.D. 491 : Chron. A. Bseda ascribes to ^Elle a position of predominance on the 
South coast : probably he was predominant before the West Saxons arose ; but there is 
nothing to show that he encroached even on Kent. 

2 This name seems quite genuine: "leod is identical with clwydd or \lwyd= prince " ± 
whence the well-known family name Lloyd. Nechtan is quite a common Celtic name. 
Earle, sup. 281. 

3 Stuf and Wihtgar are given as the leaders ; but Wihtgar seems a mere manufacture 
from " Wiht," the Isle of Wight, a name older than Roman times. 

4 " Rice onfengun." 

5 Chron. A. 6 H. E. t I. 15. 

i2 4 AMBROSE [a.d. 534-552 

of the mainland appear to have been known as the " Meonwaras," 1 whose 
name is preserved in Stoke Meon, and East and West Meon on the 
Hamble. As for the followers of Cerdic their proper tribe name appears 
to have been " Gewissas," afterwards merged in the larger name of " West 

Again the Chronicle tells us that the country up to " Cerdices ford " was 
called after Prince Nechtan, " Neatan leaga " or ' Neatan's lea ' ; and we 
hear of much fighting at " Cerdices ford." Netley is still an existing 
name on Southampton water, and Cerdices ford has been identified with 
Charford on the Hampshire Avon. 2 This river therefore was probably 
the western boundary of the original kingdom of the Gewissas. Its 
limits to the North are indicated by the fact that Old Sarum (Sorbiodunum, 
afterwards Seaxobyrg) at this time was still in British hands, and was not 
in fact attacked till a.d. 552. Thus we may quite accept the view that 
Hampshire as a whole represents the West Saxon Kingdom of the 
year 520. 3 

To the West and North of this principality we may place the territory 
of Ambrosius Aurelianus, the one British ruler whose memory Gildas could 

really honour as that of a true representative of old Roman 
ASelianus. v i rtues : H viro modesto, qui solus fuit comis, fidelis, for Us, 

veraxque." 4. The pause in the Saxon advance clearly trace- 
able in the Chronicle coincides with the successful resistance ascribed to 
Ambrosius by Gildas. This name survives in Amesbury, Ambrosebyrig ; 
and the date of his great success, the repulse of the invaders from the 
siege of the Mons Badonicus, is placed in the year 516; 5 while the 
limitation of the Saxon frontier at the Avon gives every probability to the 
identification of the Mons Badonicus with the triple Celtic earthworks of 
Badbury Rings in Dorsetshire, between Wimborne and Blandford. 

To the memory of Ambrosius a tardy tribute is due as it was his mis- 
fortune to have his glory transferred to a hero of romance ; 7 apparently a 

pure myth ; certainly one of whom history properly so-called 

knows nothing. The name of Arthur is not to be found in 

1 Baeda, H. E., IV. 13. In the year 681 they were still politically connected with the 
Isle of Wight. 

2 Green, sup., 88. 3 Green, sup., 89. 4 Hist., c. 25. 

5 Annales Cambria (Rolls Series). Gildas gives no date, except that the siege took 
place in the year of his birth, forty-four years from the time when he was writing, so 
that the memory of the events was still fresh. For the date 420 see Stevenson, 
Gildas, ix. 

6 Guest, Early English Settlements, 61-62. Green, sup., 89. One MS. of Gildas adds 
after " Badonici montis " "qui prope Sabrinum ostium habetur." But this must be 
rejected as an interpolation ; Bath could not be attacked 30 years before Salisbury was 
attacked. Carte suggested Badon Hill in Berkshire, but even that seems too far off. 

7 It has been suggested that Ambrosius may have furnished the historic basis for the 
tales of Emrys Wledig or Gwledig, alias MerSen, alias Merlin the Wizard. Rhys, 
Hibbert Lectures, 1 5 1. 

a.d. 500-550] AND "ARTHUR" 125 

Gildas, 1 who wrote only forty-four years after the siege of the Mons 

Badomcus. As he gives the names of several native princes it seems clear 

that there was no leading native of that name known to him. If we 

search for the oldest historic record of an Arthur we find it 

Stnurs. amon g tne Gael, in the person of a Dalriad prince, in Latin 
" Arturius," son of Aidan, killed in battle by the heathen Picts, 
a.d. 59 1. 3 We also have an Arthur map Petr, and more clearly a Noe 
son of Arthur, ruling in Dyfed (Pembrokeshire), 600-660. 3 The name 
therefore was not unknown in Great Britain. But neither of these men 
can serve as basis for the legendary Arthur. For him we have to skip on 
150 years to the pages of Nennius, who wrote in the ninth century, and 
there we have the Arthurian legend in full bloom. He is represented not 
as being a British King, or even a Briton at all, but as a heroic personage 
who fought for them against the Saxons and led their armies. 4 He fights 
twelve battles — a suspicious number — and apparently wins them all ; 5 the 
last being that "in vwnte Badonis" the victory of the historic Ambrosius. 6 

If we turn to the old Bardic poems of Wales, we find in them no 
allusion to these battles. The name Arthur however does occur in four 
of the poems, for which a historic character is claimed by Mr. W. F. Skene. 
But the only one that couples him with a personage that can be identified 
couples him with Geraint ap Erbin of Dyfnaint ; 7 apparently the Geraint 
who was defeated by Ine of Wessex in 710, 8 two centuries after the time 
of the Arthur of Nennius. Another poem talks of fighting on the Wall, 
' the ancient boundary,' and of the ' loricated legion ' ; 9 thus relegating its 
Arthur to the times of the Roman dominion. 

The theory that commends itself to us is that the Arthurian legend is 

merely a reissue of Ossianic myths, brought over" by the Dalriad Scots, 10 

. . disseminated through the agency of the Columban missionaries 

Origin of (of whom anon), and appropriated and adapted by the Celtic 

"Arthur, people of Great Britain. This will account for the localisation 

1 Nor does it occur in Baeda or the A. S. Chronicles. 

2 " In bello Miathorum." Adamnan, Life of St. Columba, I. cc. 8, 9 (ed. Reeves). 
Adamnan lived 623-704. 

3 See H. Zimmer, Nennius Vindicates, 283, citing the Liber Landavcnsis, 73, and 
a Welsh pedigree (Berlin, 1893). Another Dalriad " Artur,"son of Conaing, is named in 
a very late pedigree, Chron. Picts and Scots (Skene), 310. 

4 " Tunc Arthur pugnabat contra illos (sc. Saxones) cum regibus Brittorum, sed ipse 
dux erat bellorum," p. 47, Stevenson. Ambrosius is given the post of King of Kings 
among the Britons — a clear mixing up of accounts. lb. 

5 For these, see Appendix to this chapter. 6 M. H. B., p. 73 ; Stevenson, p. 47. 

7 Four Ancient Books of Wales, I. 267 ; W. F. Skene. 8 Rhys, Celtic Britain, 232. 

9 Four Ancient Books of Wales, I. 259-261. With respect to these Bards, Taliessin 
and others are named as such by Nennius, M. H. B., 75* 

9 See A. Nutt, Academy, 13th Sept. ; and F. York Powell, Id., 20th Sept., 1884. So 
again the Sir Gawain cycle seems clearly traceable to an Irish source. Whitley Stokes,. 
Academy, 23rd April, 1892 ; A. Nutt, Id., 30th April. 

126 CONQUESTS TO THE [a.d. 534-568 

of the legendary Arthur in North Britain ; 1 because the North was the 
chief scene of the labours of the Irish clergy ; and the deficiency of 
Arthurian traditions in Wales will be due to the fact that the Irish mis- 
sionaries gained no footing there. 

To return to the course of West Saxon conquest. Cerdic, as already 
mentioned, died in 534, 2 his son Cynric succeeding. For eighteen years 

Cynric seems to have rested within his borders ; but in ^2 

his hands having been strengthened, probably by fresh arrivals 

of immigrants in want of land, he attacked the Britons in their stronghold 

at Old Sarum, wresting it from them, and so making himself master of 

Salisbury Plain, and the " mystic circle " of Stonehenge. The district so 

acquired became known from its new masters as that of the " Wil-scztas" 

or Settlers on the Wil or Wiley, an affluent of the Avon, 3 their chief 

town being " Wil-tun " or Wilton. The name Wilssetas indicates that the 

colonists were a mixed population, not a homogeneous 'folk,' with a tribe 

name of their own. 

Four years later, Cynric made an advance along another of the Roman 

roads from Winchester, namely that leading N.W. through Mildenhall 

(Cunetid) to Cirencester (Corinium). The Britons were de- 
Conquests v ' . N . ' 
in Wilts feated at " Beranbyrg," identified with Barbury Camp, between 

and Berks. Marlborough and Swindon, 4 " on the very brink of the Downs " 

(a.d. 55 6). 5 This victory made Cynric master not only of North Wilts, 

but also of the right bank of the Thames from Cricklade to Reading. 

On the slope of the Downs, where the stream of the Ock flows down to 

join the Thames, " the traveller still sees, drawn white against the scanty 

turf, the gigantic form of a horse which gives the Vale of White Horse 

its name, and which tradition looks on as a work of the conquering 

Gewissas." 6 

In 560 Cymric was succeeded by Ceawlin, and he carried on the work 

of reducing the basin of the Thames. In 568 he marched along the 

North side of the forest of Anderid, and defeated ^Ethelbirht, 

the young king of Kent, at " Wibbandun/' Wimbledon, and 

1 See Stuart Glennie, Arthurian Localities. I agree with the writer that if there was 
a historic Arthur he must be sought in the North and not in the South. 

2 "There was in the time of Edward the Elder a barrow at Stoke, near Hurstbourne 
(Hants, between Whitchurch and Andover), known as Ceardices beorg, the hill or barrow 
of Cerdic." Earle, Parall. Chron., 282, citing Codex Diplomaticus Aivi Saxonici, No. 
1077. J. Kemble. 

3 Chron. A., Green, sup., 92. 

4 " This is a large camp in excellent preservation. It is nearly circular, and girdled 
by a double ring of ditch and rampart ; the inner very strong, sloping full fifty feet to the 
bottom of the ditch." Murray's Handbook Wilts, cited Earle, sup., 282. 

5 Chron. A., Green, sup., 94. 

6 Green, sup. 95. The White Horse, however, may perhaps be a memorial of Alfred's 
victory over the Danes at Ashdown in 871. 

a.d. 571-577] WEST AND NORTH 127 

drove him out of modern Surrey ' into Kent.' The so-called Ccesar's camp 

at Wimbledon may be associated with this campaign. 1 

Being thus lord of the South bank of the Thames, down to the borders 

of Kent, Ceavvlin in 571 sent his brother Cuthwulf to attack the Britons 

on the North bank. Crossing the river, probably at Wallingford, Cuthwulf 

drove the enemy as far back as " Bedcanforda," Bedford, 2 and captured 

four towns, namely, Eynsham, Bensington, Aylesbury, and Lenborough, 

''the last of these a small hamlet near the present Bucking- 
Conquests . x . ° 

North of ham." The territory thus acquired may be said to correspond 
the Thames. roU ghiy w i t h t i iat f t h e s hi res of Oxford, Buckingham, and 
Bedford. 3 Further advance eastwards was probably arrested by the East- 
Anglian Works, drawn across the Iknield way, between Royston and 
Newmarket. 4 

The next move was towards the North-West, where the lower valley of 
the Severn offered rich prey within easy reach of Winchester. In 577 a 
decisive battle was fought at Deorham, identified with Dirham, between 
Gloucester and Bath. 5 According to the Saxon chronicler, three British 
princes fell ; and without doubt three Roman " ceastra " changed hands. 
The names of the British leaders are given as " Commail " (Conmael?), 

, , . " Condidan " 6 (Kyndylan ?), and "Farinmail" or Farinmael : 

And in 1 

Western the captured towns were Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath. 
Counties. ^^ e armexec i territory would thus include part of Worcester- 
shire, all Gloucestershire, and North Somerset as far as Wells and the 
river Axe. 7 

By the loss of these towns the Britons of Cornwall, or "West Wales," 
were for ever cut off from their brethren in South Wales. The territory 
acquired in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire was occupied by a people 
who appear under the tribe name of ' Hwiccas.' 8 This would suggest that 
the conquest was effected by a new immigration, fighting under the banner 
of Ceawlin. As a matter of fact we shall find them turning against him 
at the first opportunity. 

But the West Saxon advance did not rest even at this point. " If Welsh 

1 Chron. A. The "Caesar's camp" is circular, and therefore certainly not Roman. 
Its position at the S.W. corner of the table-land of Wimbledon Common suggests that 
it was intended to face an enemy advancing from the S.W. But it may perhaps be 
better attributed to the later Danes. 

2 Florence of Worcester gives the name as "Bedaforda"; Henry of Huntingdon 
adds, "quae modo dicitur Bedeforda." Florence, a Worcester monk, died A.D. 1118. 
Henry of Huntingdon circa 1154. 

3 Chron. A., Green, sup., 118, 124. The Saxon settlement seems to have stopped 
at the borders of Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire. ' ' Bedfordshiremen still speak a 
Saxon, Huntingdon and Northamptonshire folk speak an Engle dialect." 

4 For these, see below. 5 Earle, sup., 282. 

6 For this name, see below, a.d. 584. 7 Freeman, Old English Hist., 36. 

8 See Green, sup., 129, and note. 

128 ADVANCE UP THE SEVERN [a.d. 577-593 

legend is to be trusted, their forays reached across the Severn as far as the 

Wye " : x and here when we obtain fuller records we find the " Magassetas "' 

occupying our Herefordshire. 2 Again in 584 we find Ceawlin in the field, 

' taking many towns and untold booty.' 3 In this campaign, 

Sh Furnt Ury doubtless, Wroxeter ( Uriconium) fell ; and Pengwyrn, now 

Shrewsbury, was given to the flames. The Welsh bard, Lly- 

warch Hen, laments the burning of the halls of Kyndylan ; but the buried 

ruins of Urico?iium tell their own tale of " flight and massacre." 4 

With the burning of Pengwyrn the West Saxon successes in the Severn 
Valley came to an end. Still thirsting for conquest, Ceawlin pushed into 
the borders of modern Cheshire, to be defeated by a Welsh chieftain — 
Brocmael — at " Fethan-leag," a place identified with Faddiley, some three 
miles to the west of Nantwich. Cutha, brother to Ceawlin, fell in the 
action. ' Wrathfully Ceawlin returned to his own.' 5 

But worse things were in store for him. Part of his dominion, probably 
the new settlements in the Severn Valley, revolted and made Ceol or 
Ceolric, son of Cutha, king : a year or so later Ceawlin was 
driven from the rest of his kingdom after a bloody fight at 
" Woddesbeorge " or " Wodnesbeorge," Wamborough, on the Wiltshire 
Downs, overlooking the Vale of White Horse. Britons, as well as Saxons, 
fought against him, and two years later he died (a.d. 593). 6 

The breach between the Houses of Ceawlin and Cutha "broke the 
strength of Wessex for more than 200 years." 7 

After a hundred years of fighting the West Saxon conquest of Britannia 
Prima was still incomplete. The legions of Claudius had reduced the 
whole within four years. But if the Roman conquests were rapid, their 
effects had been transitory ; the impression made by the Teutonic settlers 
was indelible. 

If our insight into the history of the settlement on the south coast is 

but dim, when we turn our eyes northwards we find ourselves in utter 

darkness. Yet the colonization of Britain did not stop at the 

The Midlands Thames, or the Tweed, or even at the Forth. The fertile 

the North, plains of Lothian were seized at some time by men who could 

drive the natives to the Pentlands {Pechtlands, i.e. Pictlands) 

1 Green, sup., 129; citing Guest, Archceol. Journal, XIX. 195. 

2 " Magesetensium sive Herefordensium," Flor. Worcest., M. H. B., 621. 

3 Chron. A. 

4 Green, sup., 205, referring to Wright's Uriconicum. Dr. Guest, Archceol. Journal, 
XIX. 199, identifies the "Tren" of Llywarch with Uriconicum. Kyndylan must be 
the same name as the Condidan of the chronicle given as killed in 577. According to 
Llywarch Kyndylan fell in this campaign. Perhaps there were two of the name : if not 
the Welsh writer here would be the better authority. 

5 Chron. A., Guest, sup. 

G Chron. A. and E., 590-593 ; W. Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, I. 17. Malmesbury, a 
local writer, gives the place as "Wodnesdic," Florence, as " Wodnesbeorh, id est nions 
Wodeni." 7 Green, sup., 207. 

a.d. 450-560] ANGLE SETTLEMENTS 129 

Nowhere, indeed, has the English tongue been preserved in greater purity 
than in the district which now calls itself Southern Scotland. 1 Even 
beyond the Forth, the valley of Strathmore 2 received settlers who could 
stamp the hills on either side as "Laws." 3 But of the process of all this 
colonization nothing has been handed down to us. Of the great kingdom 
of the Northumbrians, the first notice appears under the year 547, when 
we are told that Ida began to reign, 4 with his capital at 
Bamborough, ' which at first with a hedge was begirt, and 
thereafter with walls.' 5 Headquarters at Bamborough on the coast do 
not seem to imply a territory reaching far inland ; yet it appears that 
Ida united under his sway both divisions of old Northumbria, Deira, 
and Bernicia, the former extending from the Trent to the Tees (our 
Yorkshire) ; the latter stretching northwards from the Tees 6 to the 
Cheviots. • 

A dominion so extensive implies the lapse of a considerable period of 
colonization and consolidation, 7 especially when we consider that Ida's 
dominions may have included, and probably did include, the East coast of 
modern Scotland. 

But Bernicia and Deira were hard to keep together. We shall find 

their jealousies the standing difficulty of Northumbria. Ida's sons were 

unable to retain their hold on Deira, which, at their father's 

death (a.d. 560), fell away to JEWe, the leader of a rival house ; 

while they had to content themselves with the northern half, and the duty 

of carrying on the interminable struggle with the natives of Cumbria, 

Galloway, and Strathclyde. 8 

If from Northumbria we pass across the Trent southwards into the 

Roman Flavin Ccesariensis we find even less recorded of the early Anglic 
settlements. The bulk of this district became in time the 
kingdom of Mercia (Mercna-rice), or the March, as it was 

1 Green, sup., 73. 2 Between Perth and Forfar. 

3 e.g., Catlaw, near Kirriemuir, and the range of Sidlaws {Sild laws, South Hills) 
between Perth and Arbroath. 4 " Feng to rice," the usual formula. 5 Chron. A and E. 

6 "Ida . . . junxit arcem, id est Dingueirin et Gurbirneth, quae duoe regiones 
fuerunt in una regione id est Deur et Berneth, Anglice Deira et Bernicia." Nennius, 
c. 66. M. H. B., 74. Another MS. reads: "Ida uncxit {leg. junxit) Dynguayrdi 
Guuerth-berneich. " The separation of " Deur o Birneich " is attributed to one Soemil, 
several generations earlier. lb., Flor. Worcest., M. H. B., v. 631. The Welsh 
Breennych or Brenneich (whence Bernicia) comes from the same origin as Brigantes. 
Deira comes from Deivr, "the Welsh name of the district or its old inhabitants." 
Rhys, C. B., in, 112. Dingueirin or Duiguayrdi is given as = Bamborough, and Guuerth 
seems another name for Deira. 

7 "Cum proceres Anglorum multis et magnis prceliis patriam illam sibi subjugassent, 
etc." H. Hunt, 712. Nennius, whose Northern notes are his best, attributes the expul- 
sion of the Britons from " Manau Guotodin," or " Gododin," the 'Plain of the 
Otadeni,'' or ' Gadeni,' i.e. Lothian, to a period three generations anterior to the time of 
Ida, sup. : he reckons these three generations as equivalent to 147 years. 

8 Chron A., Flor. Worcest., a.d. 559, Nennius, sup. 

R. H. K 

130 NORTHUMBRIA; MERCIA ; [a.d. 450-600 

emphatically called ; the border country with which almost all the other 
kingdoms came into contact. Within its limits we have the names of 
several tribes or peoples, each pointing to a several settlement, such as the 
Lindiswaras and Gainas of Lincolnshire ; the Girwas of the Fen country; 
the Mercians proper, or West Angles, established round Lichfield and 
Tamworth ; the Middle Angles, and South Angles, respectively connected 
with Leicester and Dorchester. 1 Crida, or Creoda, who 
' apparently began to reign in 584, and died in 593, is named 
as the first king. 2 But the whole was not united till the time of his grand- 
son Penda (a.d. 626). At the same time, the stoppage of the West Saxon 
advance in our Oxfordshire and Bucks, when viewed in connection with 
their rapid progress up the Severn, suggests that the Midland districts 
were already in strong hands. 

Of the first landings of the East Angles who settled in the country of the 

/cent, nothing is told us. North Folk doubtless made their 

ng ia. w _^ ^ t ^ e Yare, and South Folk up the Orwell. Norwich 

would be the centre of the one settlement ; Sudbury, perhaps, of the other. 3 

The establishment of the united kingdom under Uffa is placed by Henry 

of Huntingdon about the year 571 ; and UrTa's date, to a 

certain extent, is confirmed by that of his grandson Redwald, a 

considerable personage, who came to the throne soon after the year 600. 

Florence, of Worcester, a careful writer, understood that the 

beginning of the kingdom {initium regni) came later than that 

of Kent, but earlier than that of Wessex (455-519). Perhaps he referred 

to the original immigration. The hundreds in East Anglia are small, an 

indication that the conquerors were thickly settled there. 4 If so, the 

popular form of government under ealdormen may have held its ground 

there longer than elsewhere. 

To their dread of West Saxon encroachment we may, perhaps, attribute 
the execution of the series of earthworks yet visible between Royston and 
Newmarket, drawn across the Icknield Way, and evidently intended to bar 
access by that route from the West. 5 It is worthy of notice that the year 
571, given by Henry of Huntingdon as the date of the establishment of 
the East Anglian kingdom, was also that of the West Saxon advance into 
Bedfordshire. It may be that the choice of a common head was one of 
the defensive measures taken by the East Anglians on that occasion. 

To the South of these tribes we find ourselves again on Saxon soil. We 

1 See Green, sup., 74-85, and the map at p. 59. 

2 H. Hunt., Chron. A. 

3 Green, sup., 52. 4 Green, sup., 52. 

5 The westernmost line of ramparts and ditches is found one and a half miles to the 
west of Royston. The easternmost is the Devil's Ditch, or Wansdyke, across Newmarket 
Heath. Three others come between, namely, Heydon Ditch, Brent Ditch, and Fleam 
Dyke, all crossing the road, and later in date. See Babington's Ancient Cambridgeshire, 
97 etc. 

a.d. 45°- 6o °] EAST ANGLIA 131 

may conjecture that the East Saxons found landing places in the Stour, 
or the Colne, or the Blackwater, with a fair extent of good 
land to till, and Colchester as a good city to sack. The year 
527 seems to be given as that of the establishment of the kingdom ; and 
this date receives confirmation from the statement that Sleda, son of Ercen- 
wine, or yEscwine, the first king, married a sister of ^thelbirht, of Kent. 1 
yEthelbirht was born in 552. The East Saxon kingdom, therefore, may 
well have been established some years before. 

But the East Saxons cut off from the interior by the woodlands of 
Waltham, Epping, and Hainault, had no greater opportunities of extending 
their frontiers than their Sussex cousins. 2 Of the fall of 
London and the settlement of the Middle Saxons, no record 
has been preserved. It is probable that they were an offshoot of the East 
Saxons. Verulam had fallen before 560, as Gildas deplores its loss. 
London was probably captured not long after. 3 

Thus by the end of the 6th century after a long and arduous struggle 
the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms 4 were established in Britain. Not that 
the exact number of a Heptarchy was at all times maintained. 
Heptarchv There were occasionally more, often fewer, than seven king- 
doms. But for the seven principalities above-named a definite 
succession of kings and a certain amount of history can be made out. As 
might be supposed, a certain pre-eminence was generally enjoyed by one 
or other of these states. Such a position, as already mentioned, is 
ascribed by Bseda to ^Elle of Sussex, a most singular statement. After 
yElle the leading king would have been Ceawlin, a more intelligible 
assertion ; and after him again ^Ethelbirht, of whom hereafter. 5 

If we turn to survey the districts still held by the Celtic peoples, we 
have North of the Forth the traditional seven kingdoms of the 
Kingdoms P lcts > afterwards the seven earldoms of Scotland. 
'Seven sons had Cruithne : 
Cait, Ce, Cirig, 
Fib, Fidach, Fotla, Fortrenn.' 6 

" Five of these divisions can still be identified." Fib is Fife : " Fotla is 
Athfoitle now corrupted into Atholl." Fortrenn is better known as 
Strathearn : Cirig properly Circinn, or Maghgirginn, is now the Mearns, 
Kincardineshire, the country of the old Meaetse : Cait is Caithness. 7 The 

1 Henry of Huntingdon, M. H. B., 712; Florence of Worcester, Genealogies, Id., 
629. 2 Green, sup., 47. 3 Id., 108-m. 

4 The seven kingdoms as generally reckoned were Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, 
Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex. But they were often subdivided as we shall see. 

5 Boeda, H. E., II. c. 5. 

6 Chron. Puts and Scots, 4, 25 ( W. F. Skene, 1867). As Cruithnig was the Irish 
name for Picts it is clear that the legend has come down through Gaelic channels. 

7 Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 186. 

132 CELTIC KINGDOMS [a.d. 450-600 

other two principalities would seem to be Moray and Ross, and Mar and 
Buchan (Big and Little!), the latter being the two divisions of Aberdeen- 
shire. 1 

To the South and West of these lay the " Scottish " (i.e. Irish) kingdom 
of Dalriada, 2 whose foundation is commonly dated from the landing of 
Fergus, Loarn, and Angus, the sons of Ere, in the year 498. 3 
Gaelic Their territory corresponded practically with the modern 
Argyllshire, their chief seat being at Dunadd in the Crinan 
Moss. 4 The Dalriads were Christians, and it was under Gabhran, grand- 
son of Fergus, that Colum, better known as St. Columba, 5 
' established himself in Hy, otherwise Iona, in the year 563. t; 
Colum-cille, i.e. Church-Colum, a familiar nickname given to him, was 
a native of Ireland and born 518-521. About the year 563 he had to 
leave Ireland in consequence of a quarrel with his king, who had him 
excommunicated. He went over to Iona and founded the celebrated 
monastery there. The great incident of his life was his journey to 
Inverness, where he baptized the Pictish king Brude. But his career 
was spent between the islands and the coasts of Ireland and modern 
Argyllshire. 7 

Conterminous with the Dalriad kingdom was that of Nemetoduron, 
Nemthorn, Ailcluith, or Dumbarton, with its headquarters at Dumbarton, 
and a territory extending over the basin of the Clyde, includ- 
ing the modern counties of Renfrew and Lanark, and parts 
of Ayrshire. The people were of Welsh blood, and were commonly 
known to the Anglo-Saxon writers as the Strathclyde Welsh or the Strath- 
clyde Britons. Among the native princes who contended with the sons 

1 See the tract printed by Skene, Chron. Picts and Scots, 136, where the boundaries 
are very fairly given, but with wrong names to them. 

2 There was an earlier kingdom of the same name in Ulster. 

3 See Skene, Chron. Picts and Scots, ex. ; and Celtic Scotland, I. 139. 

4 From the head of Loch Long northwards their boundary followed the watershed that 
divides the affluents of the Tay from the streams that flow to the West coast ; the dis- 
trict on the East side of the line being called " Bruinalban " or " Brunalban " {March 
of Alba), the modern Breadalbane ; while the district to the West of it was called 
" Brunhere " or " Bruneire " {March of the Irish), Chron. Picts and Scots, lxxxiv. 136, 
137. Curious to say it appears that the Western halves of the district of Morven and the 
Island of Mull were retained by the Picts, a boundary between them and the Irish being 
traceable. Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 228. Brunalban must be carefully distinguished 
from the "Drumalban" or Dorsum Britannia?, constantly used by Adamnan, the 
biographer of St. Columba to denote the whole mountain region to the East of the Cale- 
donian Canal, practically the later "Mount." Mr. Skene applies the name Drumalban 
to a non-existing chain running north and south. See his Map, Celtic Scotland, I. 8. 

5 "Columcille," i.e. 'Church-Colum.' 6 Haddan and Stubbs, II. 105. 

7 See his Life by Adamnan (ed. Reeves), and the Introduction. Adamnan was born 
in 623 or 624, Ann. Ulster. He is believed to have become Abbot of Iona in 679, and 
to have died in 704. See Stevenson's notes to Baeda, H. E., III. c. 4, and Haddan and 
Stubbs, sup. 

a.d. 450-600] AND PRINCIPALITIES 133 

and successors of Ida 1 (560-588) we have one "Riderchen" 2 (Rhydderch 
Hen, i.e. the Old) who seems clearly the Rodercus of Ailcluith, mentioned 
by Adamnan the biographer of St. Columba. 3 To this prince belongs 
the credit of having founded the See of Glasgow, St. Kenti- 
St g?rn t- § ern (Cyndeyrti), otherwise Mungo, having been brought by 
him for that purpose from his native Wales. 4 At home, we 
are toid, Kentigern had already founded the See of Llanelwy for the 
principality of Powys, though it was destined to take its name from his 
successor, Asaph. • In later times we shall find the kingdom of Strathclyde 
styled "Cumbria," with its borders, as defined by those of the concomitant 
diocese of Glasgow, including all the South-West of modern Scotland, the 
basin of the Tweed to its junction with the Teviot, and English Cumber- 
land to Dearham Water and Rere Cross on Stanemoor. But this extent 
of territory cannot be attributed to the Strathclyde of the period of 
which we are now treating, as we have three other kings associated with 
Rhydderch as acting against the Angles — namely Urbgen, Guallauc, and 
Morcant. 5 Urbgen or Urien is styled King of Rheged, an uncertain 
territory, perhaps answering to Galloway. 6 Of the dominions of Guallauc 
and Morcant nothing is mentioned ; but whether the same as Rheged or 
not, we certainly seem to have a distinct principality in Gallo- 
way, a land of Picts, descendants of the old Attecotti, who 
occupied the modern counties of Wigton and Kirkcudbright, with their 
capital at Whitehorn, alias Candida Casa, alias the Leukopibia of Ptolemy. 7 

1 For these see Florence, a.d. 559. 2 Nennius, M. H. B., 75. 

3 p. 43, ed. Reeves. 

4 Rhydderch may be supposed to have reigned 573-603 ; Skene, Chr. Picts, etc., xcv. 
Kentigern died in 612 ; Ann. Cambria. A 12th century Life of him by Joscelin of 
Furness may be seen in Pickerton's Vitce SS. Scot., 195, and another of the same 
century in Glasgow Chartnlary, I. lxxvii. But nothing is really known of the details of 
Kentigern's life ; H. and S. 

5 So against Hussa, not a son of Ida, but an under-king, and " Deodric." Nennius, 
M. H. B., 75. Deodric is clearly Theodoric, fifth son of Ida, who reigned 580-586, 
and is identified by Mr. Skene with the " Flamddwyn " (Flame-Bearer) of the Bards. 
Celtic Scotland, I. 159. 

6 Mr. Skene identifies Rheged with Galloway, quoting the bard Llywarch Hen, who 
styles Urbgen the " Ereyr gal" or 'Eagle of Gal,' which Mr. Skene takes as Galloway. 
Chron. Picts and Scots, Ixxx. Galloway might be a vassal kingdom. Moreover that 
Urbgen belonged to a Christian family seems proved by the fact that we shall find his 
son Rhun somehow associated with the baptism of Eadwine the Anglic king. 

7 The name Galloway is derived from the Welsh Galwydel, Irish Gallgaidel. Skene, 
Celtic Scotland, I. 239. Boeda distinguishes them as " Picti qui Niduari vocantur" ; the 
name being taken from the river Nid or Nith. Life of Cuthbert, c. xi. Ptolemy calls 
this river the "Novios"and the people in like manner " Novantre. " These men re- 
tained the name of Picts longer than any others, in fact down to the 12th century. See 
Skene, sup., 131— 133. Their quasi-nationality was recognised at the battle of the Standard 
(113S), and later in the special position of "The Stewartry" of Kirkcudbright. They 
form one of the four Nations in which the students of the University of Glasgow still 
enrol themselves, Loch Urr being taken as marking their boundary on the East. The 

134 WALES [a.d. 450-600 

It would seem that since their conversion by St. Ninian they had fallen 
away from Christianity, and were now reckoned heathens. 

A remarkable ring of Celtic forts crowning the hill-tops of our Peeble- 
shire, the heart of the Forest District, suggests a retreat from whence an 

obstinate struggle with external enemies was kept up. These 

forts are especially numerous along the Lyne and the Tweed 
below Peebles, and again along the left bank of the Slitrig above Hawick, 
where moreover we have relics of the great rampart known as the Catrail. 1 
Another earthwork, a " Deil's Dyke," or in older parlance the " Murthat," 
runs from the Solway towards Lochmaben. To the South of Cumbria or 
Strathclyde, as above denned, the rest of Cumberland, Westmorland, the 
greater part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cheshire 

still remained in native hands. How these districts were 
Confederacy. SUQ divided and governed we cannot say. As a group of 

confederated states they styled themselves " Kymry," ' The 

Fellow-Countrymen.' 2 As to their subdivisions we only know that 

within the limits of the West Riding alone there were two principalities, 

possibly united, Loidis and Elmet. The name of the former is preserved 

by our town of Leeds ; while the eastern frontier of Elmet may perhaps 

be traced in the earthworks at Barwick-in-Elmet, on the west side of the 

road from Castleton to Tadcaster. 3 

For the political sub-divisions of Wales about the year 600, and their 

limits, we can refer to the corresponding bishoprics, the majority of which 

seem to have been of recent formation. Five at least are 

given. For Venedot, Gwyndod, or Gwynedd, a district in 

later times equivalent to North Wales, 4 we have the See of Bangor which 

included Anglest-y, Caernarvon, ("Arfon"), Merioneth as far South as 

Dolgelly, and a large district in Denbigh. Next we have Llanelwy, or St. 

Asaph, for Powys, or the eastern half of North Wales, including Flint, the 

rest of Denbigh and Merioneth, all Montgomeryshire and Radnor, and a 

large slice of Shropshire, its capital being Pengwern, otherwise Shrewsbury. 5 

Then we have St. David's for Dyfed, or Demetia, namely Pembrokeshire, 

with the southern half of Cardiganshire, "and parts also at different times 

of Glamorgan, Brecknock, and Radnor," according as the limits of the 

secular principality varied. Llanbadarn was the See for Keredigion 

(Cardigan), " including however only the northern half of modern 

other three Nations represent Strathclyde, Lothian, and Scotland North of the Forth. 
Mr. Skene however and Mr. W. E. Robertson would connect the " Picti Niduari " of 
Bceda with Abernethy and Fife. 

1 The Catrail however must not be extended to Upper Liddesdale. The works there, 
near Peel Fell, are quite detached. They were evidently intended to bar an invasion 
from Northumberland by way of Bellingham. 

2 Rhys, C. B. t 114. 3 Green, sup., 253-256. 

4 Rhys, C.B., 121. 

5 Pearson, Historical Maps, citing Price and Lloyd. 

a.d. 450-600] AND WEST WALES 135 

Cardiganshire," but with parts of Brecknockshire, Radnorshire and perhaps 
of Montgomeryshire ; while Llandaff was the diocese for Gwent, 1 
(Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire). Lastly, we have some indications 
of a short-lived See at Llanafanvaur in Brecknock which may have been 
founded about the year 600. " Nothing is known of the history of such 
a See, but it must have been speedily merged in that of Llanbadarn, and 
then both in that of S. David's." 2 

The establishment of so many Sees about the same time points to a 
retreat of British Christianity into Wales. 

South of the Bristol Channel (West Wales) Gildas names two princes : 
Constantine, " tyrant " of Damnonia or Devon, and Aurelius Conanus, 
presumably a descendant of Ambrosius Aurelius, who may 
' have ruled in Somerset and Dorset. 

Throughout all these regions the population remained purely Celtic. 
Our belief in a considerable survival of natives in the conquered districts 
must rest rather upon the general probabilities of the case than upon 
specific evidence. In an agrarian struggle the only classes with whom no 
terms could be made would be the rulers, the clergy, and the landowners. 
On the larger estates the position of the new lords would be greatly 
simplified by the acceptance of the rents and services of the coloni as 
they stood. Within the three classes of Iczt and the three classes of 
theow of the laws of ^Ethelbirht accommodation for a large subject population 
might be found. A clearer indication may be traced in the laws of Ine, 
where it is provided that if a Welsh theow kill an Englishman, and his 
lord be unwilling to pay the fine for the misdeed, then the free kindred of 
the wrong doer, if he have any, may intervene on his behalf. 3 If the 
Britons had been unable to combine for self-defence a strong feeling of 
brotherhood was engendered by their troubles, as evidenced by the new 
name " Kymry," which first makes its appearance about this period. 4 



Of these " bella " we are told that the first was fought at the mouth of the river 
"Glein"; the second, third, fourth, and fifth, upon another river, called "Dubglas," 
in the region of " Linnuis " ; the sixth was on a river called " Bassas" ; the seventh in 
the Caledonian Forest, " Id est Cat Coit Celidon " ; the eighth action took place " In 
Castello Guinnzon." On that occasion we hear that Arthur carried an image of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary on his shoulders, ' and the heathen were put to flight on that day, 
and great slaughter made of them through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and 

1 See Haddan and Stubbs, I. 143. Gildas stigmatises three Welsh princes, Magoclunus 
of Venedod, Vortiporius of the Demetae, and another whose territory is not indicated. 
jEpistola, M. H. B., 16, etc. 

2 Haddan and Stubbs, 146. 

3 Ine> c. 74. Schmid, Gesetze der Angehachsen. 

4 Rhys, C. B., 114. 

5 Nennius, pp. 47, 48, ed. Stevenson. (From MS. Hail. 3859.) 


through the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother.' 1 The ninth battle was 
fought in the ' City of the Legion ' (in Urbe Legionis) ; the tenth on the banks of a 
stream called " Tribruit " ; the eleventh ' on the hill called Agned ' ; the twelfth and 
last was the action of the "Mom Badonis." On that day we- are told that 960 men fell 
by the hand of Arthur. ' Nobody slew them but he alone, and he had the victory in 
all his battles.' So far as these localities can be identified, the majority of them seem 
connected with the North. The river " Glein " should be the Northumbrian Glen 
mentioned by Bseda {H.E., II. c. 14); the " Dubglas''" (Douglas) must be placed either in 
Lancashire, Kirkcudbright, or Dumbartonshire : if " Linnuis " could safely be identified 
with the district of Lennox, the decision would be in favour of the last ; the Cale- 
donian Forest of course is Northern ; the ' City of the Legion ' should be Chester ; 
while " Mons Agned " looks very like Mynyd Agned, the Welsh name for Edinburgh. 2 

If we are asked to supply possible historic bases for these actions, we must say that 
the materials appear to have been freely appropriated from all quarters. The battle of 
the Mons Badonis, of course, is the victory of Ambrosius, a.d. 516. The battle on the 
river " Bassas " looks like the fighting at Baschurch, a.d. 584 s ; and the " bellum in 
Urbe Legionis" must be the victory of .^Ethelfrith over the Britons at Chester a.d. 
605-613. Can the battle of the Caledonian Forest be taken from Tacitus and Agricola ? 
If Mons Agned is to be identified with Edinburgh we may point out that the city is 
believed to have - been founded by, as it takes its name from, the Northumbrian 
king Eadwine, who reigned 617-633. The battle there therefore, could hardly have 
occurred before that period. On the whole the unhistorical character of the deeds 
ascribed to Arthur seems perfectly clear. 

1 " In quo Arthur portavit imaginem Sanctas Marise perpetue Virginis super humeros 
suos, et pagani versi sunt in fugam in illo die et coedes magna fuit super illos per 
virtutem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et per virtutem Sanctse Mariae Virginis genetricis 

2 Skene, C. B., 153. 

3 Seven miles N. W. of Shrewsbury. Four Ancient Books of Wales, vol. i. 448, 
454 (Skene). 

Vol I. to race -page 136 


Early Anglo-Saxon Life and Institutions — Marriage — The Family — Criminal Law — 
Ordei-s of Society — Social Organization — Popular Assemblies — Mythology and 

FOR the English historian it might be thought that the history of 
Anglo-Saxon institutions would begin with the settlements of the 
Anglo-Saxons in Britain. But our records of the first ages following their 
establishments in the island are so meagre that we can only fill up our 
picture by combining evidence drawn from later periods with the testi- 
mony afforded for earlier periods by the writings of classical authors and 
especially by those of Caesar and Tacitus. 1 In their pages we find 
physical and moral traits depicted that we can quite call our own ; devo- 
tion to field sports ; 2 height of stature and length of limb ; 
The Early blue eyes and fair hair. 3 Their chief recorded virtues were 
domestic purity, truthfulness, and courage ; their chief failings 
Their gambling, gluttony, and drunkenness ; characteristics easily 
recognisable at the present day. In the eyes of the Roman 
they seemed incapable of deceit ; and he openly smiled at the scrupulosity 
which insisted upon discharging debts of honour, even in the case where 
one who had lost everything else staked and lost his liberty on a last 

throw. 4 Of their intolerance of heat and thirst, and their pro- 
And Vices. , . , _ . . _ , 

pensity for drink, Tacitus makes frequent mention. 

Nor was he less struck with their hospitality, and their disposition to 
combine eating and drinking with the transaction of business, 5 a practice 
which is directly linked with the bytt-fyllings and scotales of mediaeval 
times, and which still lives in the dinners attendant on the meetings of 
our manorial courts, and our rent collections. 

The Celts loved to crowd in towns and strongholds. The Germans 

1 Ccesar wrote De Bello Gallico about 50 B.C. The Ger mania of Tacitus was written 
about A.D. 98. 

2 "Vita omnis in venationibus ; " war too came in largely " atque in studiis rei 
militaris." Caesar, De Bello G., VI. c. 21 ; also IV. c. 1, and Tacit., Germ., c. 14. 

3 Germania, c. 2, 4. " Truces et coerulei oculi." In connexion with the stature of 
the Germans we may note that the Anglo-Saxon yard, based doubtless upon the average 
step of a man, was 39/6 inches long. Kemble, Saxons, I. 99. 

4 Germ., 22, 24. Similar cases are recorded of the North American Indians, who 
have been known to stake their scalp at the last. 

5 Id., c. 22. 



hated fenced cities, and dwelt either in detached homesteads or in hamlets 

loosely put together, each house surrounded by its curtilage. 

* The straggling English village is the abiding expression of this 

inborn taste. In their noble contempt for fortifications the Germans 

rivalled the Spartans, but English history has been distinctly affected by 

this disregard of military prudence. Wood was the material of their 

edifices. 1 In the Anglo-Saxon tongue getimbrian, ' to timber,' was the 

only word for building ; while even towards the days of the Norman 

Conquest a minster of l stone and lime ' was something calling for special 

notice. We may also point out that the Old-English tun denoted not only 

a town in our sense, but also a Scottish toun, i.e. a homestead or habitation. 

In their original seats the habits of our Teutonic ancestors seem to have 

been, on the whole, rather pastoral than agricultural, while their husbandry 

was of the simplest character, and limited to the cultivation 
State of 
Agriculture. °f corn - As among the Celts a considerable share of this work 

devolved on the women. Cattle were their only wealth ; milk 
a leading article of diet ; their favourite beverage was beer, and that they 
consumed in no measured quantities. At Anglo-Saxon banquets however, 
we find mead rivalling beer as a liquor. Gardens and orchards, unknown 
at home, 2 they would find ready planted and dressed in Britain, with 
servile labour in abundance to carry on agricultural work of all descrip- 

Early Germanic society at the best must have been turbulent and dis- 
orderly. Predatory forays were encouraged by the chiefs as giving the 
young men the best training in martial exercises. 3 So, in the history of 
our Mercia, war against the Welsh appears to have been a recognised 
career for young men of family not otherwise provided for. 4 

The courage and independence of the Germans is too well recognised 
to need proof. The fact that they, and they alone, were able to stem the 
tide of Roman conquest, speaks for itself. Among their tribes the Saxons 
are placed in the forefront for their courage and enterprise. Ammianus 
Marcellinus, the Emperor Julian, Sidonius Apollinaris, and others agree in 
describing them as the most formidable of the Teutons. 5 

Their early naval enterprise need not be noticed again. Next to their 
valour their domestic morality and their consideration for women struck 
the Romans. 

1 Germ., c. 16. 

2 " Agriculture non student . . . major pars victus eorum lacte et carne et caseo 
consistit." B.G., VI. 22. "Nee labore contendunt ut pomaria conserant . . 

et hortos rigant . . . sola terrse seges imperatur." Germ., 26. 

3 B. G., VI. 22; Germ., 21. 

4 See e.g. below, the Life of Guthlac. 

5 Sidon., viii. 6. " Saxones prae ceteris hostibus timentur." Amm. Mar., XXVIII. s. 2. 
Tuh' virkp T7)v 'Prjvov, /ecu tt]v 'E<T7repiau daKdrTav edvwv ret, /u,ax<-fJ-^TaTa, Julian, Orat. I. in 
Laud. Const., 34. 


Tacitus assures us that they paid considerable deference to the ' holy 
and thoughtful' counsels of women. 1 Nevertheless, the position of woman 
in England was not one of independence. On the contrary 
r women ° wnetner married or single she was always under tutelage 
{mund, i.e. ' hand '), either that of her husband or of her 
family. The intending husband had to buy the right to her legal guardian- 
ship from her father or her relations. 2 

An Anglo-Saxon marriage consisted of two parts, the betrothal or 
1 wedding ' {tveddian, desponsatio, dotatid) and the giving-away (gift, gifia, 
traditid). The suitor had first to deposit a pledge that his 
intentions were honourable ; he then discussed terms with 
the lady's friends : what he would give them, what he would allow 
her, what he would settle upon her if she survived him. Thtse 
matters having been adjusted and secured, the bride was then formally 
'wedded,' i.e., pledged to the bridegroom ' To wife and to right life.' The 
giving-away followed in due course. After the introduction of Christianity 
it was provided that a priest should be present at the giving-away to bless 
the union. On the morning after the actual nuptials the bridegroom made 
a definite assignment to his wife of her dower, or some part of it, thence 
known as her morgengifu or ' morrow-gift/ 3 From Tacitus we learn that 
the Teutonic wife was warned that she came to share her husband's lot 
as his partner in weal or woe, in peace or war, 4 — an interesting testimony 
to the antiquity of our marriage rites. The same writer informs us that 
the Germans as a rule were monogamous ; only a few great chiefs (of whom 
Charlemagne might be taken as a leading instance) indulging in plurality 
of wives. 5 But it would be a mistake to look for the highest or most 
refined morality in a primitive community. In the days of ^Kthelbirht, 
if a man ran away with another man's wife the law was content if the 
wrongdoer paid a fine equal to the value of his own life (zver-geld), a 
heavy penalty no doubt, and in addition provided the injured husband 
with another wife ' with his own money.' 6 In the succession to the Crown 
we shall find bastardy no bar. 

The authority of the father over his child was absolute \ he could sell 

1 "Inesse sanctum aliquid et providum putant." Germ., 8. 

a Laws of ALthelbirht, c. 77 ; Ine, c. 31 ; and the Law of Betrothals, Schmid, App., p. 
390 ; Thorpe, I. 254. 

3 Id. and ALlhelbirht, c. 81. On the subject compare E. W. Robertson, Scotland 
under Early Kings, ii. 324, and Historical Essays, 172. The marriage in two parts was 
not peculiar to the Anglo-Saxons. The position of a woman taken after betrothal but 
without formal giving away and blessing (sanctifcatio) might be doubtful, but Mr. 
Robertson thinks that the issue would be legitimate. He compares the case of a nun. 
Her novitiate is her betrothal — the taking of the veil her final marriage to Christ. 

4 " Mulier ipsis incipientibus matrimonii auspiciis admonetur venire se laborum peri- 
culorumque sociam, idem in pace, idem in preelio passuram et ausuram." Germania, 18. 

5 Ibid. 6 sEthelbirht, c. 31, Schmid. 


it. Over his wife, in matters domestic, his authority was equally para- 
mount. If she misconducted herself he could, of his own sole 
^BAglSS authority, expel her with ignominy from home and village. 1 
Here we see the patria potestas of the monogamous family ; 
but we have other facts pointing to an earlier state of things. The con- 
nexion between the woman and her kindred was not altogether severed by 
the fact of her marriage. They retained an interest in her : they were still 
co-responsible for her acts and her safety. If she was murdered the price 
of her life went to them ; and they had to pay for a murder committed by 
her. 2 In these primary matters the rules of the primitive joint-family had 
not been over-ridden by later customs. 

That the original kinship had been reckoned on the female side, may 
be gathered from the fact that the Anglo-Saxon term for kindred, mczgth, 
meant primarily a girl or daughter. 3 

We may suppose that the authority of the father over his son ceased 
when the latter came of age, and was formally invested in public with 
s ( jear and shield. 4 From that time he ranked as a tribesman : before he 
was merely a member of a family. 5 

To the era of the primitive family belong the principles upon which all 
Anglo-Saxon criminal law was based. These were shortly two ; the 
mutual responsibility of the larger family kindred or clan, 
Cl> L?w! aI "mcegburh," and the right of private war, fcehfte, fahthe? feud 
or foeship. Here while using the word clan we must premise 
that the Anglo-Saxon mtzgburh was a much narrower and less compre- 
hensive group than the Celtic clann, being limited to bona fide blood- 

The right of private warfare was one of the inalienable privileges of the 
Teutonic freeman. In it essence its was merely a recognition of the pri- 
mary lex lalionis, an eye for an eye : a tooth for a tooth. But 
from an early period means were devised for regulating this 
right, so as to enable compensation for wrongs done to be exacted other- 
wise than by retaliation and force of arms, as already pointed out in con- 
nexion with Celtic institutions. This was effected by establishing a tariff 
of fines at which different injuries were rated ; and by making the com- 
munity or State an arbiter between the parties, to assure to the sufferer 

1 Germania, 19. Fustel de Coulanges, Problemes d'Histoire, 211. 

2 See Betrothals, sujt>., 7, and the authorities cited by Schmid there, esp. Henr., lxx. 
12, 13. 

3 The closeness of the tie between the uncle and the nephews, sons of a sister, points 
in the same direction. Men standing in that relation were specially singled out as 
hostages for each other. Germania, 20. Tacitus was evidently puzzled by the fact. Conf. 
Beowulf, I. 1755, ed. Kemble. 

4 " Scuto frameaque " (German Pfriem. A.S. gar). 

5 " Ante hoc domus pars videntur, mox reipublicse." Germ., c. 13. 

6 The word is derived from fa, a foe. Kemble, I. 267. Schmid, 570. 


that he should receive proper compensation ; and to the wrong doer that 

on payment of the appointed penalty he should be protected from all 

further feud and molestation. In return for its intervention the State 

claimed a fine over and above what passed between the parties. In 

assigning definite rights to the State the Teutonic differed from the Celtic 

law. The former system, which is clearly described by Tacitus, 1 was the 

„ J basis of all Anglo-Saxon law. Private war was not absolutely 

The State. . ., . . . ,.,..,. . . . . J 

prohibited, but the individual was bound in the first instance 

to apply to the lawful authorities for redress ; 2 if they neglected to assist, 
or if the offender refused to submit, then the person aggrieved was re- 
mitted to his original right of war ; and in this case the State was bound to 
assist him. This principle is briefly expressed in the maxim preserved in 
the so-called Laws of Eadward the Confessor : " Bicge spere of side oSer 
bere." ' Buy [the] spear off [your] side or bear [it].' 3 

So in civil actions, as we would call them, that is to say suits to recover 
property or damages. The plaintiff had to begin by a formal demand 

made in a public meecing or before a judge. The defendant 
Civil Actions. . , , - , « • ■ • 1 • ■, , • , , 

had to meet this by depositing a pledge to abide by legal 

decision. 4 

Where a prima facie case was made out against a man he might rebut 

the charge by bringing forward testimony, apparently not so much to the 

_ . facts of the case, as to his general character. The amount of 

Testimony, ' , ° 

How testimony required varied according to the nature of the 
eis e " offence ; 5 and the value of a man's oath varied with his social 
status. 6 It is needless to point out the temptation to perjury that such a 
system held out. If a man could not raise the required weight of testi- 
mony among his own relations, the natural thing would be to buy the help 
of strangers. 7 

Pecuniary fines settled everything, from murder downwards, forfeiture 
of land following in some cases. In the times of Tacitus the mulcts were 

still estimated in cattle, 8 and in Anglo-Saxon documents the 

general term for goods, property, or money is still feo/i = cattle. 9 

1 Germ., 12 and 22. 

2 See Laws of Hlothcer and Eadric, c. 8 ; hie, cc. 8, 9, etc. 

3 "Quod est dicere lanceam erne de latere aut fer earn." Leges Edw. Conf, c. 12, s. 
6, Schmid, c. 12, Thorpe. 

4 Laws of Hlot liar and Eadric, and Ine, sup. 

5 See Laws of due, cc. 14, 15, 25 s. 1, 52 ; sElfred, cc. 4, s. 1, 36, s. 1, etc. For an 
illustrative case see Earle, Land Charters, p. 165. 

6 On this see below. 

7 See a most instructive case, Earle, Land Charters, 165 (Cod. Dip. No. 328), where a 
man charged with cattle-stealing gives his foster-father the reversion of an estate to swear 
him guiltless, and so escapes. 

8 Germ., c. 21. 

9 As Schmid observes sub voce in his Glossary, it is often very doubtful in which sense 
the wox&feoh is used. 


Most important of these values was the Wergeld 1 or Man-price; corre- 
sponding to the Eric fine of the Brehon laws ; the Galanas 
Wer-geld. or Gaines of the Welsh codes ; the Crd of the Scoto-Pictish 
codes. 2 The penalties for minor injuries passed under the 
comprehensive name of bot compensation. If the injured 
party was under the legal protection (inund) of a superior, 
as father, husband, lord, or king, a further penalty was due to him. 

Where the murderer was willing to make atonement his ' forespeaker ' 
gave a pledge {wed) to the kindred of the slain man ; and received in 
return a pledge for his principal to come in peace and deposit his pledge 
in person. This latter pledge having been given and accepted, the slayer 
then gave bail (borh) for the due payment of the wer-geld. That done, the 
King's mund or protection was ' reared/ the kindred on both sides laying 
their hands on a weapon, as a token that all right of private warfare was 
waived or suspended. The various penalties were then paid by instal- 
ments at intervals of twenty-one 'nights.' 3 It is worthy of notice that a 
" wer" was equally exigible for the life of a man killed on a fair field of 
battle, as for that of a man killed by mere assassination. 4 Where a man 
caught a thief in the act he might kill him, unless he preferred to accept 
his " wer." But if he killed him he was bound to proclaim the fact, and 
then the relatives (meegas) of the deceased would have to forswear feud. 
If the slayer concealed the fact and it was afterwards brought home to him 
the wer for the deceased might be demanded. 5 

Fines exacted as penalties to the state or king for a wrongful act 
" Wite" irrespective of injury done to the individual were known as 



The aversion to capital punishment common to all barbaric codes, and 
conspicuous in English law till after the Conquest, must not be ascribed 
to a mere sense of humanity. We must bear in mind that to a small 
primitive community the loss of a single life was a serious blow. It would 
be a poor compensation for the loss of one member to add the destruction 
of a second life. 

If the reader expects to find among the primitive Teutons a democratic 
state of society where all men were free and equal, he will greatly err. 

1 Also called leodgeld, or shortly, wer, leod, and even geld. The word is compounded 
of «w, a man (Latin, vir), and gild or geld, money. 

2 See above and E. W. Robertson, Scotland under Early Kings, II. 284. Skene, 
Celtic Scotland, II. 152, 204, 217. 

3 Eadward and Guthrum, c. 13 ; Thorpe, 75 ; Schmid, 395. Eadmund, Secular 
Dooms, c. 7. The Teutons reckoned time by nights, not by days. The fact is noticed 
by Tacitus, an instance of his accurate observation. 

4 So Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, received from /Ethelred, King of Mercia, the 
"wer" of his brother ^Elfvvine, killed in battle ; A.D. 679. So again, in 694, the men of 
Kent paid Ine of Wessex the wer of his brother Mul, killed in an inroad into Kent. 

5 lne, cc. 12, 28, 35. 


The simplicity of German life was not incompatible with well-marked social 

distinctions. The gradations may not have been as numerous 
Social Ranks. . . ° , . , . ._... 

or minute as those we have noticed in early Irish society, 

but the broad lines were quite as clearly drawn. As the free differed from 

the unfree so one freeman differed from another, not only in the value of 

his life and person (wer-geM), but also in the weight to be attached to his 

testimony in legal proceedings, as already mentioned. 1 The differences 

were such as to admit of definite numerical admeasurement. 

Four orders of society are noticed by Tacitus, nobiles, mgenui, libe?'ti, 
servi ; 2 Gentle, Simple, Freedman, or as we would render it, Serf, and 
Slave. The same fourfold division is ascribed to the Continental Saxons 
about the year 863. 3 In a Saxon Capitulary, however, of Karl the Great 
(Charlemagne, a.d. 797), the classes are only three, nobilis, ingenuus, and 
Htus'j while the historian Nithard {circa, a.d. 843) likewise gives us 
edheli?igus, frilingus, and lassus, the latter term being rendered serviles 
by a later writer. 4 

The appearance of slaves calls for no special notice — slavery being a 

primordial institution, almost as old as property itself. Of the condition 

of the slave Tacitus tells us that it was not necessarily one 
Tlis Slavss 

of hardship, and that he was seldom ill-treated ; but that if a 

master, in a fit of passion, chose to kill a slave no penalty would attach. 

The slaves were not employed, as with the Romans, upon handicrafts, 
or in domestic work ; the simple duties of the household were performed 
by the wife 5 and daughters. The slaves were employed in agriculture, 
each slave having a cottage and a home of his own ; and a plot of ground 
part of the produce of which went to the master. 6 The agricultural servus 
described by Tacitus must therefore be clearly distinguished from the 
later Roman colonus who ranked as a free man, while the German servus 
was clearly a mere slave and nothing more. 

The fact that the servus was allowed to occupy and cultivate a definite 
parcel of land implies not merely ownership of land among the Germans 
as early as the time of Tacitus, but ownership of land in severalty, not to 
say accumulation of landed property, in the hands of those who owned 
the slaves. The master could not allot a holding to his slave unless he 
had land that he could call his own. 

The omission of slaves from some of the tables above given need not 

1 This feature does not appear in old Irish law, but then legal proceedings in the 
proper sense were unknown to the Irish. 2 Germania, 7, 24, 25, 44. Stubbs. 

3 Rudolf, Translatio S. Alexandr., Pertz, II. 674, cited Stubbs, Const. Hist., I. 49. 
(Ed. 1883). 

4 Capitul. Saxon., Baluze, I. 199 ; Nithard, Hist., IV. 2, cited Stubbs, sup. 

5 The Anglo-Saxon hlcefdige, lady, means * loaf-distributer.' Hlaford, lord, means 
'loaf-provider'; while the menial or dependant is hltzfeata, 'loaf-eater.' For the 
lady handing round the cup to the warriors in the hall, see the Beowulf. 

6 Germania, 24, 25. 

i 4 4 SLAVES 

trouble us. They were doubtless passed over as not being "law- 
worthy " or entitled to notice. In the laws of our own ^Ethelbirht we 
have all the four social classes, given as eorl, ceorl, lest, and theow, with 
subdivisions of the two latter, implying that their numbers, to say the 
least of it, were not inconsiderable. The Icet of course will correspond to 
the libertus of Tacitus, who tells us that as far as he could see his 
position differed little from that of a slave. 1 

In the laws of ^Ethelbirht the slaves appear to be divided into three 
classes, with lives of different values, the values differing partly according 

to the grade of the slave, partly according to the grade of his 
^slaves!* or her owner - Thus if a man violates the king's handmaid 

{cyninges mcegden-man) let him pay fifty shillings amends ; if 
she be a grinding slave (grindende theowa) let him pay twenty-five shillings; 
if she be third class {thridde) twelve shillings. 2 The same offence com- 
mitted with an eorl's waiting-maid {birele) involves twelve shillings penalty ; 
with a ceorl's waiting-maid six shillings ; * with second-class slave-girls 
{at thczre oftere theowan) fifty sccettd, for thirds thirty scattd? 3 Of the 
principles of the distinctions between the classes of slaves we have nothing 
special to suggest. They might be of different personal qualifications, 
or they might be born slaves, bought slaves, or captives in war. One 

„ . _. special class of slave however is noticed in our laws — wite- 

Penal Slaves. l 

theowan = penal slaves, persons sold into bondage from in- 
ability to pay their debts, and specially legal penalties incurred either by 
their own misconduct or by that of others for whom they were responsible. 
Of the Icet we hear even less than of the slave, though the subject opens 
up a more interesting field of enquiry. In the laws of yEthelbirht three 
The "lset " c ^ asses °f ^ are gi yen > whose lives are rated at eighty shillings, 
sixty shillings, and forty shillings respectively, 4 where the life 
of an ordinary freeman is apparently rated at one hundred shillings," but 
really perhaps at two hundred shillings. 5 This is the first and last mention 

1 With respect to the word libertus in Tacitus, we may take it that he used it as the 
only term he had to describe the position of a man in theory free, but not altogether 
so in fact. The colonics had not yet made his appearance in the Roman system. We 
are told that he came in later, and that apparently he filtered in from without, being, 
originally, of barbaric origin. In the laws of the Lower Empire the libertus is dis- 
tinguished from the free colonus on the one hand, and the servus on the other hand. 
Fustel de Coulanges, Problemes ColonaL, 6j. 

2 ^Ethelbirht, cc. 10, II {circa A.D. 6oo). 

3 Id., 14, 16, also 25. The Kentish scaet was=a farthing, four making a penny, while 
fivepence made a Wessex shilling. For ' fifty ' (L) above we should probably read 
' sixty ' (LX.), the penalties would then run evenly, 6s. 3^. 1 %s. 4 c. 26. 

5 " Medume leod-geld C shillinga," c. 21. This perhaps should be taken as the strict 
manwyrcf, the full wer being 200 shillings. Laws of Hlothcere and Eadric, cc. 3, 4. 
"The medume leod-geld of the Kentish code was evidently the medium weregildum of 
the Continental codes. ... a manwyrth, the full leod-geld therefore was 200." 
Robertson, Scotland. II. 280. 

THE "LsET" 145 

of the 1<Bt in English history, but his position may be fairly illustrated by 
that of his continental compeer, the lazzus or li'lus, 1 while at the close of 
our period, when we get fuller lights, we shall find the bulk of the agri- 
cultural population of England ranked under three heads, the geneat, the 
gebur, the cotsetla. These were men occupying exactly the position of 
the Roman colonics : they were theoretically free except in relation to their 
lord and his land, neither of which they could forsake. They held plots 
of ground, paying rent, partly in kind, partly in -labour expended on the 
lord's demesne ; the amount and nature of the services they had to per- 
form varying according to their status? To us it seems impossible not to 
connect the geneat, gebur and cotsetla, with the three classes of Icet, the latter 
term having fallen into disuse. Without supposing that the proportion 
of the semi-servile population in the early days was at all as great as it was 
in the latter days, the belief is pressed upon us that the Anglo-Saxons, 
when they settled in Britain carried on the landed system much as they 
found it, being already accustomed to servile labour in Germany. We 
are told that on the Continent the Germanic invaders took over the coloni 
and the slaves with the land, without substantial change, and that the 
system went on practically unchanged down to the time of our Norman 
Conquest. 3 At that time we find a system prevailing in England on all 
fours with that found in France. But before the Anglo-Saxon settlement 
the system in Britain must have been the same as in Gaul, of which it was 
part. Thus at the beginning and at the end of a given period a certain 
system is found obtaining in the two countries. In one of the two the 
system is proved to have gone on continuously. Is it not more natural to 
suppose that in the other country also the system ran on with a continuous 
course, than to suppose that after a period of complete interruption, it 
should spring de novo from the soil, to develop the same features as 
before ? 

The original principle of the distinction between the ceorl or ingenuus, 

and the eorl or nobilis seems hard to seize. We may conjecture that in 

The Ceorl lts mce V tlon ]t was a mere social distinction, based upon 

ancestral wealth and traditional purity of blood. Families so 

distinguished have been found even in very democratic communities, as in 

ancient Greece. But whatever the principle the line was clearly drawn. 

In a Kentish code of the 7th century the life of the simple freeman 
appears to be valued at 200 shillings (£4 4s.); that of the "eorlcund" 

1 By Frisian law a freeman could reduce himself freely to the position of Bus and 
again emancipate himself with his own money. Lex Frisionum, tit. II, ed. Lindenburg, 
cited Stubbs, I. 52. 

2 See below. For the services of an ordinary colomis see Fustel de Coulanges, Colonat. , 
127-129 ; for classes of fixed tenants, 64, 67. 

3 Id., 130, 145, 153. A law of Valentinian, a.d. 371, distinguishes three sorts of fixed 
tenants, namely free coloni, freedmen, and slaves. Id., 67. 

R. H. L 

146 THE "CEOEL" 

at 600 shillings. 1 The same values are given in an Anglic code of the 
8th century, where the murder of a slave has to be atoned for by a 
" wergild " of thirty solidi (shillings) ; that of the freedman with eighty ; that 
of the freeman with two hundred, and that of the " adaling " with six 
hundred. 2 Conversely in the Saxon Capitulary above cited, where for 
certain offences the 7iobilis pays four solidi, the ingenuus pays two, and the 
litus one. It would seem that the wers of 200 shillings and 600 shillings, 
as above given, consisted of two parts, one half representing the value of 
the man's life to his kindred, mamoyrth, the other half the mulct due to 
the state or king. 3 

Where rank involved such definite rights and liabilities one would like 
to know how the register of nobility was drawn up. Of the album de- 
curionum in the Roman viunicipia we hear plenty ; but of any album of 
eorlcund in Anglo-Saxon history we hear nothing at all. 

The difficulty will be greatly lessened if we suppose the distinction to 

rest on the basis of landed property. The value of a man's oath bears an 

exact proportion to the acreage of his estate. But the value 

Property. °^ a man ' s oath and the amount of his wer-geld went hand in 
hand. The same fundamental principle, therefore, must have 
determined both. In fact " primitive nobility and primitive landownership 
bore the same name." Adel or yEtkel, Adaling or sEtheling are directly 
derived from Odal or Edhel, an old name for a family portion of land 
with house and adjuncts. 4 

The law endeavoured to maintain the social distinctions of 

status, rank, the different classes being forbidden to inter-marry. But 
the limits were not impassable. As a man by acquiring 
property might certainly rise, so presumably the born gentleman or noble- 
man, if he could not show the requisite estate, would fall. 5 

1 Laws of Hlothcere and Eadric, cc. I -4 ; Schmid, A.D. 683-685. In the Laws of 
ALthelbirht we have widows divided into four classes ; the guardianship [mwid) of the 
' best' sort is valued at 50 shillings ; that of the lowest at 6 shillings ; c. 75. See also 
Schmid, Append. VII. 

2 Laws of the AngUi and Werini, "Edited by Merkel, 1851 ; Canciani, vol. III." 
Stubbs, sup., p. 50. The wer of 80 solidi, for the freedmen again seems to agree with 
the 80 shillings of the first class Icet of ^Ethelbirht. The names of the Anglii and Werini 
are traced in the townships of Kirchengal, Westengel, and Feldengel, on the river 
Unstrut, a tributary of the Saale, with Werningshausen opposite. K. Blind, Academy, 
24th Feb., 1894. 

3 See above, and Schmid, Append. VII., c. 2, s. 1, and c 3, s. 3. 

4 See Stubbs, Const. Hist., 1. 57, and authorities there cited. Mr. Robertson com- 
pares the allodial eorlcund to our "untitled landed gentleman of ancient family," and 
the Scandinavian Holdr. Scotland, II. 324. yEthel and odal must be distinguished 
etymologically from the Frankish equivalent alod, which in its Latinised form allodium, 
was imported into England by the Normans. Alod is explained as al od, whole, absolute 
property, as distinguished from feodum, feo od, stipendiary property, property given for 
reward. Earle, Land Charters, li. 

5 Yet in the Laws of Lne the gesiScund man {i.e. eorl) without land is recognised. 


In the ceorl or simple freeman we have the lowest class of the fully 
franchised members of the community, the rank and file of the colonizing 
armies. We cannot doubt that each would receive an allotment of the 
territory he had helped to conquer. But by what process or in what 
shares and proportions the land was distributed we know not. Through- 
out the Anglo-Saxon period we find land always measured by hides or family 
portions, 1 the hide apparently containing from 100 acres to 120 

The ''hide" acres f arable land, according to the nature of the soil, the 
of land. . ' ° ' 

measurement being one of estimation and repute, and more- 
over based, like the Roman jugerum, on value rather than acreage. The 
1 60 acres or 120 acres were exclusive of rough pastureand woodland, of which 
seemingly certain portions usually went as appendant to each share of plough- 
land ; while again meadow land and other good permanent pasture was 
usually given in acres, as extra-hidal. The standard unit in the admeasure- 
ment of land being thus known as a ' family-portion,' and the whole country 
apparently being mapped out in such portions, one can hardly help suppos- 
ing that the original normal holding of the free tribesman would be the 
complete little estate of the hide of plough-land with its adjuncts. A 
political franchise based on such a qualification would present a very 
stable, in fact almost an oligarchic basis of the society, and so Tacitus tells 
us that in the Germany of his day the substance of power rested with the 
main body of the tribesmen, not with the elective chiefs. " De minoribus 
rebus principes consultant^ de majoribus omnes." 2 That in later days 
such was still the theory of our constitution cannot be doubted. The 
traces of the principle are numerous. It lies at the root of all our institu- 
tions. But it would be rash to accept it in its pristine integrity as exhibit- 
ing the true balance of forces in an English folkmote. When we get a 
clear view of the subject we shall find the distribution of land (and of 
political power) very different, one man owning many hides, and 
isation of others owning, or rather renting, but a fraction of a hide. But 
r ' the mere natural increase in the population would account for 
the subdivision of the land where no other industry was available. What- 
ever the extent of his holding the ceorl of the days of /Ethelberht must have 
been a man in a comfortable position. He might be the owner of a slave- 
handmaid, he might have other household dependants. 3 In fact a man 

He pays a fine of 60 shillings for failure of attendance in the host, where the land- 
owning {land-dgende) man of the same class pays 120 shillings, and the ceorl 30 shillings, 
c. 51. 

1 Higid. hid. (conf. hige, /iigo=fami\y), in Bceda render ed/amiiia, Hist. EccL, I. c. 25, 
and in the Latin charters by Cassatus mansus, mansa, etc. These Latin equivalents are 
found on the continent, not so the word kid, which is peculiar to England. See Kemble, 
Saxons, I. 91 ; Earle, Land Charters, lii., also append, to chap, below. 

2 Germ. , c. n. 

3 For the ceorls " birele " see above, and /Ethelbirht, c. 16, for his hlafceta (loafeater), 
see c. 25. 

148 THE "FYRD" 

could not properly cultivate a hundred acres of land without oucside help, 
unless he had a grown-up family. As a fully-franchised member of an 
organised community the ceorl held his land subject to definite obliga- 
tions and burdens. These included the duty of personal military service 

in time of war, of personal attendance at the various tribal 
Duties, meetings for the discharge of judicial and other business, the 

discharge in turn of petty public functions involving calls upon 
his time. From the eighth century downwards we find attendance in the 
host (fyrd), repairing of forts (burhbot) and repairing of roads and bridges 

(brigcbot)— primary duties from which no land should be ex- 
necessiti em P te d — specially noticed as the trinoda necessitas. The same 

obligations appear in Gaul about the same time, but are re- 
ferred to as old regulations common to other nations. To us a liability to 
to repair forts and bridges looks more like a legacy from Roman times, 
taken over as part of the existing land system, than a product of Teutonic 
soil. 1 It is not easy to see how the attention to fortifications at any rate 
could grow into a primary social law among a people who despised strong- 
holds and possessed none. 

With the establishment of Royalty the burdens on land would naturally 
increase. If a king of the East Saxons or the South Saxons could not take 
the vineyards and the olive yards of his subjects, and give them to his ser- 
vants, 2 he at any rate, like the Celtic kings, could require a certain amount 

of entertainment (feorm, pastus) on his journeys, or else contri- 
En ment! n " butions m kind in neu thereof (feorm-fultum). Besides that 

he could demand transport and assistance for himself and for 
all persons in his service or accredited by him. 

Of the primary burdens the most onerous would be that of personal 
military service (Fyrd). The man would have to serve with his own equip- 
ment and at his own cost. In the early days of the settlement, 
ServteeT wnen tne new-comers were armed colonists, holding by no 

title but that of the sword, little difficulty would be found in 
exacting fulfilment of the duty. But as the country became more and 
more settled, and the wars became political rather than agrarian, the diffi- 
culty would become considerable. We may suppose that in theory a man 
might be called out from each hide. But there is evidence that in cases, 
very likely in many cases, the kings were obliged to accept compositions, 
cutting down the number of men liable for service. 3 Anyhow before 
England was reduced to substantial unity we shall find the military system 

1 For the first notices of the trinoda necessitas, see Stubbs, I. 82. The Bishop, how- 
ever, questions the Roman origin. 2 See I Samuel c. viii. 

3 See e.g. Codex Diplomatic us, No. 116, where King Coenwulf of Mercia accepts five 
men from thirty hides {circa A. D. 800). For a grant of many hides ' to be held as one hide 
in all things,' see Id. 642. Montesquieu tells us that in Gaul one man went to the host 
from four mansi, mansus being'one of the words used to render ' hide' in A. S. charters. 

THE "EORL" 149 

breaking down utterly, and the country left at the mercy of every petty 
band of sea-rovers. 

Lastly, among the rules under which the ceorl held his land was that of 

cultivation in common. The usual system was one of three courses, say 

one year wheat, one year barley or oats, and one year fallow. 

Uncommon. Sometimes a two-course shift was in use ; there the land would 

lie fallow alternate years. From this point of view the hide 

might be regarded as an aliquot share of the Common Field. 1 

The eorl held his land under the same general conditions as the ceorl, 2 
except where a favoured individual had obtained from the 
king and witan a charter (doc) granting him land to be held 
free from the ordinary regalian dues (bocland, freols, terra libera)? In 
later days we find the normal estate of a thegn, a. term equiva- 
lent to the earlier eorl, estimated at five hides ; 4 that is to say, 
apparently at five rated hides. 5 The higher tribal posts of course would 
be filled by men of eorl rank. Tacitus tells us that very distinguished 
parentage would sometimes entitle a mere lad to high office, 6 and more 
particularly that in the larger tribes, where the chief ruler aspired to regal 
style, the king would be selected from the family of noblest birth, a state- 
ment quite in accordance with the teaching of our history. But he goes 
on to say that, in critical times, the common sense of a free people held 
that the claims of birth must give place to more weighty considerations. 
Whoever might be allowed to rule in time of peace, in time of war none 
but the tried warrior could be chosen captain 7 {dux heretoga ; conf. the 
Celtic To i seek). 

This may have been true of the actual days of the migration, but we 

have no instance in our records of a king being superseded in time of war 

in favour of an elective captain. In the election, again, of the 

The Heredit- ea id rmen and other officials below the king, we find the 
ary Principle. . ° 

primitive rights of the freemen suffering encroachment on the 

one hand from the invasion of the hereditary principle ; on the other hand 

from the ascendency of the royal authority. If the office is sufficiently 

important it either becomes the appanage of a particular family, or else 

rests at the king's disposal. 

In Eorl and Ceorl we have " the first simple division of society," the 

1 See more below. 

2 See "Rectitudines Singularum Personarum," c. i. Schmid, App. III. ; Thorpe, I. 


3 So in Alfred's Will, Birch, Cart. Sax., II. 177, 178-182; also Cod. Dip., No. 
806. For freols, a " liberty " or franchise, see No. 481. 4 Rectitudines, sup. 

5 So I understand the passage, " Thegen ... the to cinges ut ware fif hyda 
hcefde." Ranks, Schmid, App. V. c. 3. 

6 " Insignis nobilitas, aut magna patrum merita principis dignationem etiam adoles- 
centulis assignant." Germ., c. 13. 

7 " Reges ex nobilitate, duces ex virtute sumunt." Germ., c. 7. 

150 THE "THEGN" 

later Gentle and Simple. The word " Ceorl " kept its place, but " Eorl " 
was destined to be supplanted by a series of other terms as fresh gradations 
of rank were introduced. By the time of Ine ? s legislation 1 we have a 
threefold division of twyhynde, syxhynde, and twelfhy?ide men, 
Later Grada- w ^ we rgelds of 200 shillings, 600 shillings, and 1200 shill- 
ings. 2 Above these, again, came the ealdorman, bishop, JEthe- 
ling, or Prince of the Blood, and King — all valued at still higher rates. The 
twyhynde man of course is the ceorl, who was alwavs valued at 200 shill- 
ings, and the syxhynde man, now otherwise spoken of as the gesithcund 
man, is the old eorl, who was worth 600 shillings. The hvelfhynde man 
is new, and he is also called a ' king's thegn ' {cyninges thegn)? The gra- 
dations are very clearly put in a law of King Alfred, where the penalties 
for breaking into another man's premises {burh-bryce) are laid down. In 
the case of a ceorl's curtilage the fine is five shillings ; in the case of that 
of a syxhynde man fifteen shillings ; and in the case of that of a twelfhynde 
man thirty shillings, the penalty being again doubled for an attack on 
the house of an ealdorman, and yet again for one on the palace of a 
king. 4 

The word gesith, in Latin comes, originally meant a companion, but the 

term gained dignity through special association with warfare, and service 

under military leaders. In the Laws of Ine the gesith appears 

The cund " lth " as a man * n subordinate authority, perhaps originally a military 

officer, whose duties had assumed a civil character as the 

country became settled. 5 The term, however, soon disappears. The 

m . ™- word them was of humbler origin, but fated for a greater 

The Thegn. 6 . . ° . . a 

destiny. Meaning, originally, ' servant ' or minister 6 it rose 

to distinction, like our " Cabinet Minister," in the service of Royalty. The 

king's thegns form a new class valued at twice the price of the old 

syxhyjide eorl. 

Short of royal dignity the highest post known to the constitution was 

that of the Ealdorman, or Eider, 7 the later Earl, the princeps of the 

Germania. In our Latin charters the title is rendered dux. 

Ealdorman * n tne ^ me °*" Tacitus apparently many of the Germanic 

tribes were still ruled by elective principes ; 8 and such was 

still the case with the Continental Saxons in the days of Bseda, who tells 

us that they were governed by Satrapce, rendered ealdormen by King 

vElfred in his translation. 9 The title implied an authority even more 

1 Circa 690. Haddan and Stubbs, III. 214. 2 Laws, Ine, c. 70. 3 Id., c. 45. 

4 Laws of Alfred, c. 40. For wers, again, see Schmid, Anhang, VII. 

5 See Earle, Land Charters, lxv. One might, perhaps, compare the gesithcund with 
the later scutifer or esquire, i.e. man-at-arms. 

6 In the Latin charters minister represents the vernacular thegn. 

7 Conf. the Biblical " Elder" and the Arabian " Sheik." 

8 See Stubbs, C. H., I. 31. 9 Baeda, Hist. Eccl, V. 10. 


restricted than that of a king, and also a dominion of less extent. But 
with the position of an independent ealdorman of this sort we need not 
concern ourselves, because though the actual leaders in the immigration 
are usually styled earldormen or heretogan, the reader must have noticed 
that the final establishment of a tribe on British soil was immediately 
followed by the assumption of royal style by the leading chief. By a 
converse process when the original Heptarchic Kingdoms were subdued 
and incorporated we find the representatives of the fallen dynasties 
continued in office as under-kings (sub-reguli) or ealdormen, and in fact, 
with scarcely diminished authority. 1 

The ealdorman of the later type was no longer elective, but nominated 
by the king with the assent of his Witenagemot, of which more anon. But 
a powerful family with strong local influence might establish a hold upon a 
particular ealderdom that might not be lightly overlooked. The position 
was that of a Lord Lieutenant or King's representative within the shire. 
HisAuthoritv^" ^ man< ^ ates were transmitted through him. He wore a 
and sword of office : in time of war he led the local fyrd ; in time 
mo umen s. Q ^ p eace ^g presided in the shire-mote, folc-gemot, or county- 
court. He shared the judicial fines and emoluments accruing to the 
king from the administration of the Law, receiving one-third — the third 
penny. 2 Some late references to " earl-lands " suggest that special mensal 
lands may have been appropriated for the endowment of these offices, 
but we do not get the clear view of official estates in England, that we do 
in Ireland. 3 Prima facie, the ealdorman ruled a single shire. In Kent 
we shall hear of two Ealdormen, doubtless one for East Kent and one for 
West Kent, the two original Kingdoms. In later times, however, a 
practice grew up of entrusting a group of shires as a province to one 
ealdorman or earl. 

An institution by which Tacitus was evidently much struck, an institu- 
tion on which according to him the influence of the leading chiefs 
(principes) mainly depended, was the comitatus. Modern 
Comitatus scholars also have devoted much attention to the subject.. On 
the face of it the comitatus was the household retinue of a 
primitive magnate, in an unsettled state of society, when the maintenance 
of an effective body of armed retainers was an object of primary 
importance. 4 In Celtic phrase the retainer was said to ' enter the house ' 
of the chieftain to whose service he attached himself, and whose ' man ' 
he became. Large households naturally admitted of different offices filled 

1 See cases, Stubbs, I. 123. 

2 The same proportion was drawn on the Continent by the, Graf, comes, or count, the 
remaining two-thirds going to 'the palace.' Stubbs, II. 126, citing a capitulary of 
a.d. 783. 3 See above. 

4 " Hsec dignitas, hasc vires, magno semper electorum juvenum globo circumdari, in 
pace decus, in bello presidium. Germ., 13. 


by men of very different birth and rank. 1 One would be a social equal, 
literally a ' companion ' (conies, gesith) ; another would be a mere servant 
(thegn). The remarks of the Roman historian apply to those of the 
higher rank. He evidently thought it strange that men of birth could 
place themselves in vassalage to other men. 2 But this will not surprise 
the modern reader who knows what the gradations of office in a Royal 
Household are. Nevertheless, the relation of lord and vassal under the 
comitatus presented features not easily realized at the present day. In 

the first place the institution implied more or less a right of 
Retinues? P rivate warfare. Then the tie that bound the follower to his 

lord (firinceps) was held singularly sacred, if not indissoluble, 
the balance of advantage being very much on the side of the superior. 
The most devoted loyalty, the most entire self-abnegation were required 
of the follower. He was expected to live, and, if necessary, to die for his 
lord. 3 From his lord in return he received shelter and protection, good 
society, sport, and his daily maintenance. He also received a horse and 
his equipment of weapons for war and the chase 4 (heregeat). These 
reverted to the lord on the death of the vassal, and to this custom the 
later heriots may be traced. 5 

Another odd feature of the institution was the legal recognition 
apparently given to the status of the gesith or thegn, at least to the gesith 
or thegn of ealdorman or king. Even a ceorl might have a 'loaf-eater' 
(Jilafata) as we have seen. But the right of maintaining a comitatus in the 
highest sense was in this country apparently limited to kings, ealdormen, 
and the later bishops. 6 The view that a man by entering the comitatus 
lost his personal freedom, that in a manner he became disfranchised, seems 
very exaggerated. 7 Of course he would lose his independence of political 
action, as a modern member of Parliament loses his independence by enter- 
ing the Cabinet. But there is no reason to suppose that he would forfeit 
any of his rights of citizenship. The king's thegns of our later period are 
the highest nobility next to the ealdormen or earls. The system of the 
comitatus suggests large landed estates and primogeniture. The noble 
youths willing to take service would be the cadets of the great families. 

1 " Gradus quin etiam et ipse comitatus habet, judicio ejus quern sectantur, etc." Germ., 
13 ; conf. K. Maurer, Krit. Ueberschau, II. 400, cited Stubbs, I. 167, where the house- 
carles of a Danish king are divided into three classes : servants, external agents, and 
hired-menn (A.S. hired-men), household retainers. 

2 "Nee rubor inter comites adspici." Germ., sup. 

3 " Jam vero infame in omnem vitam, ac probrosum superstitem principi suo ex acie 
recessisse. Ilium defendere, tueri, sua quoque fortia facta glorias ejus assignare prasci- 
puum sacramentum est. Principes pro victoria pugnant ; comites pro principe." 
Germ., 14. * Germ., c. 14. 

5 For a heriot, see Cod. Dip., No. 699 ; Earle, p. 215 (a.d. 997). 

6 The point is not very clear. See Stubbs, 25, 167 ; also especially the writ of Cnut 
(a.d. 1020), where he refers to the thegns he has allowed the Archbishop of Canterbury 
to have. * s ee Kemble, I. 173. Stubbs, sup., I. 26. 


Forms of the cotnitatus may be traced in the housecarles of the later 

Anglo-Saxon period and the liveried " household men " of our mediaeval 

nobility. In fact analogous relations have existed at different 

^customs!* 3 times in many parts of the world. Such was the bond 

between the patro?ius and the cliens of early Rome. Patroclus 

was the gesith (ercupo?) of Achilles ; Eteoneus the thegn (Oepairoiv) of 

Menelaus; comites again were the noble ' table companions ' (6/xorpa7T€^ot) 

who felt themselves bound to die with the younger Cyrus at Cunaxa. 1 

In fact, even within the limits of the Roman Empire, in its latter days, we 

seem to trace the germs of a system of this character endeavouring to 

spring up. 2 

But in our history, without doubt, the comitates plays most part in con- 
nexion with royalty. The king had opportunities of employing and pro- 
moting his thegns that no other man could have, and he alone could give 
them definite rank in the social scale. ' King's thegn ' became the Eng- 
lish equivalent for the Norman ' baron.' 

Of the Teutonic, as of the Celtic kingship, the essence appears to have 

been a combination of the hereditary with the elective principles, the 

m». v . electors beiner restricted in their choice to the members of 
The King. & 

a particular family. That could only be after kingly rule had 

been established. That form of government might be supposed to arise 
where, on the one hand, the community felt itself strong enough to assert 
an independent national existence ; while, on the other hand, a particular 
leader or a particular family had gained such a position as to exclude 
competition outside its own circle. Perhaps the more likely account 
would be that kingship arose where a military leader had established within 
and without the tribe a position which seemed to justify the assumption 
of royal dignity, that is to say, when he found himself strong enough to 
get himself proclaimed king. The dynasty once started was prompt to 
invest itself with a halo of sanctity by producing a pedigree tracing descent 
from Woden. 3 

The king was the representative man, the head and father 4 of his people. 

He was the chief conservator of the peace, the protector of the stranger 

His Position and the nel P less > tne supreme judge in final resort. His wergild 

and greatly exceeded that of any other man. By Mercian law it 

Prerogatives. wag £ I2Qj or thirty-six times that of the simple ceorl, whose 

1 Xenoph., Anab., I. c. 8. See Freeman, Norman Co?iq., I. 92. 

2 Seethe peremptory prohibitions against Patrocinimn and Obsequm??i, Cod. Just., XI. 
tit. 53, 54, a.d. 365, 468. 

3 All the first Anglo-Saxon kings claimed descent from Woden. See their pedigrees 
in the Chronicles and Florence. 

4 The word cyningis held to be not merely Teutonic, but Aryan, and connected with 
the Sanskrit ganaka, 'Father.' So Max Midler. "But the Anglo-Saxons probably 
connected the cyning with the cyn more closely than scientific etymology would permit." 
Stubbs, I. 158. 


life was valued at 200 shillings of \d. each. 1 Minor offences against the 
king's person or property, or against the persons or properties of those 
under his protection (mund) likewise involved enhanced penalties. For, 
be it noted, the king's prerogative did not override the primary right of 
private war except with regard to certain persons, or to certain places, as 
the four great ways, 2 or the precincts or verge of the king's residence for 
the time being ; or, again, with respect to certain times and circumstances, 
such as feasts and festivals and public gatherings, either in the host, or for 
the transaction of civil business. 3 With the king rested the calling out 
and leadership of the fyrd, or national militia, the summoning of special 
Revenues nat ional meetings, and the like. He was entitled to a share 
of all judicial mulcts and fees, and to the whole of the estates 
forfeited for political and other offences, a vast source of income. It is 
probable that there were crown lands annexed to the office, but, by what- 
ever title, the king was, without doubt, the greatest of landowners. 4 He 
was also entitled, like the Celtic kings, to receive a certain amount of 
entertainment on his journeys (feo?'m, pastus), or composition in kind in 
lieu thereof. 

He could also call for the services of his subjects, with their carts and 
animals, to transport and escort himself and his retinue, with all their 
belongings. Among these hawks and hounds are specially noticed. Ealdor- 
men and other official persons, and persons travelling on the king's business 
might claim similar assistance. In grants of land by charter (boc) to a 
favoured individual these rights were frequently released, and from these 
documents we learn what the royal perquisites were. 5 The king again 
had the chief voice in all appointments to national posts, such as those 
of ealdormen, and, after the conversion, of bishops and abbots. As the 
mark of his rank the king wore a circlet of gold, cynehelm or cynebeah, 
round his head. 6 Throne and sceptre were also his. But the head of 
the State was not invested with unlimited or irresponsible power. 7 As he 
was elected so he could be deposed for incapacity or misconduct. Several 
instances will be recorded in our narrative. 8 In all matters of high im- 
portance, such as legislation, declarations of peace or war, supreme appellate 

1 See the Tables, Schmid, 394 ; Thorpe I., 174. ^"120 was also the king's wer in 
Kent and Wessex. Of the sum half would go to his family, half to his people — 240 
pennies went to the £1. 

2 I.e., The Watling Street, the Foss Way, the Icknield Street, and the Ermine Street. 
Leges Eadw. Conf., c. 12. 3 See below and Kemble, II. 38. 

4 In my view the king might hold land under three different titles : (1) Crown 
desmesne lands, which he could not alienate. (2) Ordinary foldand, held as a private 
individual, which he could not devise by will. (3) Bocland, which he could devise by 
will. See below. 

5 See Earle, Land Charters, lxxxv., from Cod. Dip., Nos. 216, 281, and 1,063. 

6 Kemble, Saxons, I. 154. 

7 So, too, the Germania, " Nee regibus infinita aut libera potestas," c. 7. 

8 See them collected by Bishop Stubbs, C. H., I. 152. 


jurisdiction, appointments to the chief posts in the State, he was bound 
to consult his leading followers, known as his witan, or wise men. In fact, 
without their concurrence his powers of enforcing his man- 
Taxation dates woul d be small. Of any power of imposing taxes 
nothing need be said, because, though the king could exact 
tolls and dues on goods imported into the kingdom, or sold in markets 
and fairs, nothing in the shape of direct taxation is heard of before the 
Danegelds of the tenth century. With respect to Crown lands, as already 
stated, the evidence is not very ample, but it does appear that 
Lands? tnere were estates which were or might be applied to the 
maintenance not only of the king, but also of the members of 
the royal family. It is clear, however, that the king and witan had full 
power of disposing of these lands as they pleased. ^Elfred, in his will, 
speaks of land given him by God and his " yldran" meaning apparently 
his Wise Men. 1 ^Ethelred II. tells us that when his father died, and his 
elder brother became king, the optimates gave him the lands appertaining 
to the king's sons (ad regios pertinentes filios), and that when his brother 
died, and he himself became king, he took possession of the Crown lands 
in addition (regalium simul . . . terr arum suscepi dominium). 2 Lastly, 
Domesday Book clearly refers to Crown desmesne lands (Dominicatus 
regis ad regnum pertinens)! 6 

If we turn from the consideration of the several classes to that of the 
tribe or petty kingdom as a whole, we shall find in our modern counties 
and their subdivisions the cadres within which the invaders organized 
themselves. Following the system under which they had lived in their 
continental homes, they arranged themselves by townships (via) and hun- 
dreds (pagi) ; aggregates of these forming tribes or kingdoms 
Township (dvitates). The Township (tunscipe) is represented by the 
modern manor or parish. 4 The latter, of course, is an eccles- 
iastical division, but one based on pre-existing civil delimitations. The 
Hundred is known to us all as a subdivision of the shire, and the 
areas of our south-eastern counties coincide with those of primitive king- 
doms, their names again indicating the tribal character of the settlements. 
Essex is the land of the East Saxons ; Sussex that of the South Saxons. 
Kent is a Celtic territorial name retained by the conquering Jutes, but its 
borders were thought ample enough to admit for a. time of the two king- 

1 Cod. Dip., No. 314, Birch. 2 Id., No. 1,312. 

3 Exeter, Domesday, p. 75. Cited Stubbs. 

* The words "mark " and " mark-system " introduced by Kemble to denote the vicus 
or township and the life of a village-community, have been shown by Fustel de 
Coulanges to be destitute of authority. "Mark " (A.S. mearc) is nowhere to be found 
in any other sense than that of boundary or march, as in Scotland to the present day. In 
an extended sense it might be used of a border territory, as " the Welsh March," but 
never of a town or village. See also Earle, Land Charters, xlv. 


doms of East and West Kent. Dorset and Somerset again (Domscetas, 
Sumorscetas) represent colonial settlements, offshoots from the parent tribe 
of Gewissas, established on a footing of quaswndependence. Hereford- 
shire gives us the territory of the Magescetas ; the old diocese of Worcester 
that of the Hwiccas. 

In the general organization the Hundred appears to have been, as for 
some purposes it still is, the judicial and administrative unit ; the Town- 
ship in such matters ranking as a fraction of the Hundred, 
Hundred. wh * le political supremacy rested with the tribe or kingdom. 

Each of these groups in their several spheres had their 
periodical meetings under the presidency of public officers for the trans- 
action of competent business, a complete and efficient system 
Assemblies. of self-government, so far as it went, that is to say within the 
limits of a primitive kingdom. Of the proceedings in these 
meetings as he witnessed them in Germany, Tacitus has drawn a very 
popular, in fact quite a Republican, picture. All are free, all appear in 
arms, sitting in the open air, grouped by clans or townships, as in the host. 
The chiefs (p/inapes) may meet beforehand in committee to arrange the 
agenda ; they are also allowed to take the lead in debate, but the ultimate 
decision of all matters of importance rests with the assembled tribesmen. 1 
The official magistracy, the rulers of the vicus and the pagus, are elective ; 2 
the chief captains in time of war are carefully chosen, as we have seen, 
even the kings are elective. Of this popular elective system undoubted 
survivals are to be found in our own institutions, but it is doubtful if in 
Britain the principle of an elective magistracy ever had such free play as 
appears in the Germania. 

In looking for the principles on which the original Townships and Hun- 
dreds may have been settled it is worthy of notice that in the south- 
. western counties we have Tithings instead of the Townships 

of other districts. 3 So in the laws of Eadgar, in a general 
ordinance for the pursuit of thieves, the petty officer next below the Hun- 
dred-man is the Tithing man, 4 and in the Leges Henrici Pri?m i a compila- 
tion of Anglo-Saxon law, the subdivisions of the Hundred are given as the 
Deca?ii<z or Deci77ice and the manorial jurisdictions. 5 A passage is cited 
from the Civil Law in which ten men are said to constitute a Turba ; this 

1 " De minoribus rebus principes consultant, de majoribus omnes," etc. Germ., c. II. 

2 "Eliguntur in iisdem conciliis et principes qui jura per pagos vicosque reddant." 
Id., c. 12. 

3 "So in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and all counties south of the Thames ex- 
cept Kent and Cornwall." C. Pearson, Historical Atlas, 52. Conf. Stubbs, C. H., i. 92. 

4 " Teoftingman." Eadgar I. ss. 2, 4. 

5 " Distinguuntur centurise vel hundreta in decanias vel decimas et in dominorum 
plegios." In this case it is possible that the reference might be to the later, revived, 
personal arrangement of frithborh, but on the whole I think that territorial divisions are 
meant throughout. 


word Turba, in French Tour be, looking very much like " thorp " or dor/, a 
village ; " as if the original village was supposed to consist of ten families." 1 
This much, however, may be taken as admitted, that the Teutonic peoples 
were organized for the purposes of the host and of police administration 
by tens and hundreds, 2 while the majority of terms used in this country 
to denote territorial subdivisions are words primarily importing groups of 
men, not areas of land. Between the Trent and the Tees the divisions 
Wapentakes now corres P oncu ng to the southern Hundreds are called 

Wapentakes, a word of Norse origin, meaning apparently a 

taking or mustering of spears, i.e. of armed men. 3 In Lincolnshire also we 

Wards ^ ave Wa P enta kes. Further North the shires are divided into 

Wards, i.e. Guards, again quotas of men, not of acres or 
hides. In Kent several Hundreds make a Lathe : this is explained by the 
Danish or Jutish Lething a levy or force. 4 The clear inference from these 
facts is that the territorial divisions of the country were based on pre- 
existing personal arrangements of the invading forces. We may suppose, 
therefore, that their armies being organized by regiments of a hundred 
men or a hundred and twenty men — the old English hundred often ex- 
tending to that figure — with subsections of ten men each, the several regi- 
ments parcelled out among themselves the land they had conquered by 
allotting a fair proportion to each ten. Or it may be that the country 
having been occupied by independent groups of squatters, when they came 
to organize themselves for the purposes of self-defence and orderly govern- 
ment they arranged themselves by tens and hundreds according to the 
system under which they had lived in their former homes. A sufficient 
number of men might constitute their district a legal Hundred, giving the 
status of a Tithing or Township to any section prepared to accept a 
theoretic liability of finding ten men for the host. 5 In this way very 
unequal areas might become Hundreds. In short, either the hosts 
occupying the lands according to their military subdivisions gave the 
names of those subdivisions to their districts, or the settlers in ordering 
themselves fell back upon the arrangements to which they had been 
accustomed in the host. Both processes may have come into operation in 
different places. In either case the earliest view that we get of the Ger- 
mans is that of u a nation in arms." 

1 " Turba decern dicuntur," Leg. Prat., 4, s. Turba. " Coutume si doit verefier par 
deux touvbes et chacun d'icelles par dix temoins." Loisel, V. tit. 5, c. 13. Kemble, 
Saxons, I. 244. 

2 See Bishop Stubbs' note, I. 92. 

3 Mr. Skeat, in his Etymological Dictionary, accepts the popular etymology given in 
the so-called Leges Edw. Con/., c. 27, Schraid ; c. 31, Thorpe. 

4 Ellis, Introduction to Domesday, I. 179, 180. See also for more, Stubbs, I. no, 12 r. 

5 The original Township-Tithings, primarily personal and secondly territorial, must 
be distinguished from the later Tithings oifrithborh or Frankpledge, which must be con- 
sidered a revival of a decayed institution. So too Earle, sup., liv., note. 


The settlement under the former of the modes here suggested would 
be facilitated by the fact that the Teutonic hosts being organized terri- 
torially, kinsmen and neighbours fought side by side. 1 The members of 

the original Townships might thus be extensively related by 
Groups l * es of clansni P fr° m tne first - w ith the mutual responsibilities 

of the members of a Township, it is not surprising that no 
stranger could be allowed to settle, or even to purchase the share of a 
townsman without the consent of the others. 2 But, as already pointed 
out, we must assume that the lion's share of the spoils of the Britons 
would fall to the military leaders and captains, and that alongside of the 
family portions of the rank and file arrayed in their Tithings and Hundreds 

large manorial estates lying somewhat outside of the normal 
Estates 1 s ) rstem must nave been found from a very early period. At 

the same time the proceedings in our manorial courts even at 
the present day imply that the constitution of the manorial Townships 
was in outward form as nearly as possible the same as that of the free 
.Townships. It will be borne in mind that except in his relations to his 
lord and his land the Icet was a freeman. In the free Townships the people 
held their periodic gemots to elect their petty officers, their head man, 
tithing-man, or constable, their by del (beadle), their hedgeward, their pound 
keeper, and the like. 3 So they have to choose the four good men who 
with the head-man will represent them in the courts or meetings of the 
Hundred and Shire. In the manorial Township the head-man was the 
lord's gerefa (reeve, steward) nominated of course by him, but with the 
proper assent of the little community. Then again the townsmen pass 

by-laws 4 regulating the course of their common husbandry, and 
jSsSction execute orders transmitted to them from above in such matters 

as selecting and equipping men for the host, pursuit of crimi- 
nals, tracking stolen cattle, and the like. Survivals of these meetings still 
surround us, partly in the manorial courts, partly in the vestries, where the 
freemen, the ratepayers, " still assemble for purposes of local interest not 
involved in the manorial jurisdiction." It does not appear, however, that 
the Township gemot enjoyed any criminal jurisdiction." 5 

Cultivation in common, under the system still partly in use, and known 

1 " Quodque praecipuum fortitudinis incitamentum, non casus vel fortuita conglobatio 
turmam aut cuneum facit, sed families et propinquitates." Germania, c. 7. 

2 See the extract from the Lex Salica, tit. 45 (ed. Merkel), given by Bishop Stubbs, 
I. 55. Compare the assent of the "homage" to the admission of a new copyhold 
tenant of a manor. 

3 For these see Reclitudines, Schmid, 380 ; and again, for an Oxfordshire manor in 
the last century, E. Nasse, Agricultural Community, p. 12 (Cobden Club, 1871) ; 
Williams, Archceol., xxxiii. 270. 

4 By-law, formerly written birlavv or burlaw, would properly mean a local rule passed 
in a burh, Northern byr or by— township. Skeat, Etym. Diet. 

5 See Stubbs, i. 88, 96. 


as that of " Open Fields," " Commonable Fields," " Intermixed Lands," 
or "Lammas Lands," was one of the chief bonds of associa- 
STcommon at * on amon g tne members of the Township. The system was 
in full force in England till the last century. Of the periodic 
redistribution of land mentioned by Tacitus, 1 and found by us as still 
practised in Ireland within living memory, the evidence is less full, but 
sufficient traces are forthcoming to prove that to a certain extent it did 
form part of the original land-system of England. 2 It is important to point 
out that the practice of redistribution by lot or otherwise in itself implied 
that the ultimate ownership of the soil rested not with the individual, but 
with the collective body entitled to participate. The description in 
Tacitus clearly applies to an earlier style of husbandry than any that we 
can identify in England. Here for the purposes of common tillage the 
best land of the Township was laid out in large blocks or Fields, as nearly 
as possible of rectangular shape, separated by banks of turf. Sometimes 
there were two such blocks, but more usually three, according to the 
system of husbandry adopted, that is to say according as the land was 
cultivated under a three-course or a two-course system, as already men- 
tioned. 3 The whole of each Field was treated alike, being either sown 
with one crop or lying fallow. But in many, and probably most cases the 
Township land could not be thrown into two or three parallelograms, and 
then the Fields had to be broken up into minor blocks or " Shots" of the 
desired shape. The aim was to get parcels of land that could be cultivated 
in strips not exceeding 200 Anglo-Saxon yards ( — 220 Imperial yards) in 
length — "furlang" lengths. That length with a width of four 'rods,' or 
20 Anglo-Saxon yards (=22 Imperial yards) made an acre. If the 
furrows could not be made of " furlang " length the width of the strips 
had to be increased. The whole Fields were thus broken up into acre- 
strips made to approximate as nearly as possible to the normal standard. 
The acre-strips apparently were parted off by unploughed intervals two 
furrows wide. Each hide included of necessity an equal number of strips 
in each Field. If the whole had lain in one Field the owner would have 
had no crop when that Field was under fallow. But even in each Field 

1 " Agri pro numero cultorum ab universis in vices occupantur, quos mox inter se 
secundum dignationem partiuntur : facilitatem partiendi camporum spatia praestant, arva 
per annos mutant et superest ager." Germ., c. 26. The latter words point to a 
primitive agriculture under which rough grass land is broken up, one or two crops taken 
off it, and then a fresh piece broken up. This rude "field-grass" husbandry, as it has 
been called, can be traced in Cornwall. Nasse, sup., n, 20. 

2 E. Nasse, Agricultural Community, 13; citing evidence before an Inclosure Com- 
mittee (Cobden Club, 1871). In the Orkneys (partly Celtic and partly Scandinavian) 
arable land was frequently repartitioned down to the year 1500. A. Mitchell, Academy, 
19th April, 1884. 

3 In later times we find the two crops distinguished as " tilth grain " and " etch " [i.e. 
stubble) "grain." Seebohm. 


the strips of a given hide did not lie together. Apparently each man 
entitled to participate took strip and strip about, according to the size of 
his holding, the object being to secure as far as possible equality of value 
among the holdings of the same size. The system in itself suggests an 
original distribution by lot, which might easily be repeated. The sub- 
division of the land in acre-strips obtained in many places till very recent 
times. Even in the last days of the system, before the passing of the 
Enclosure Acts to reconstitute the holdings, we are told that a man own- 
ing a hundred acres in a Common Field might " at the most have two or 
three acres together." l 

From seedtime to harvest each Field as a whole was fenced in, and 
each man was entitled to the entire produce of his own strips, these, as 
already mentioned, being merely marked off by unploughed intervals. 
The ploughing was done by common ploughs to which each man con- 
tributed labour and animals pro rata. On light land eight oxen commonly 
went to the plough, but in parts of England more had to be used. 2 After 
the severance of the crop individual rights fell into abeyance. The 
fences surrounding the Fields and Shots were thrown down, and the 
animals of the community, previously restricted to the waste lands, were 
allowed to range freely over the stubbles, the grassy banks, and the 
fallow till the next seedtime. But each townsman could only turn out a 
number of beasts proportionate to his holding in the Field. Again we 
must remark that if the land was called " Common," it was only common 
to the landowning families. The system was equally applicable to hay 
meadows, each man mowing and top-dressing his parcel during the summer 
as he pleased. On a given day in autumn the cattle would be turned on, 
as may be seen in Switzerland at the present day. 3 These were known as 
Lammas Meadows. In recent times when the shares were redistributed 
the redistribution took place at the end of a period of rotation, and so 
most likely it was at all times. Finally it is clear that co-tillage could be 
worked as well among tenants of a manor as among small proprietors, and 
that the lord of the manor might have his estate in the Common Field. 4 

Next in order above the meetings of the Township came those of the 

Hundred, or Wapentake, corresponding to the pagus of Tacitus, the hcerred 

Jurisdiction °^ Scandinavia, the huntari or gau of Germany. 5 As a social 

of the and judicial institution it was common to every branch of the 
Germanic race, a relic of their primitive organization. At 

1 Nasse, sup., 7. See also Canon Isaac Taylor, Domesday Studies, I. 55-60, with the 
plan of the Common Fields of Burton Agnes in the East Riding copied below in vol. 
II. ; and Seebohm, English Village Communities, 1— 13, with the plans of the manor 
of Hitchin taken in 1816. 

2 Nasse, 7 ; Seebohm, 62. 

3 See Maine, Village Communities, 84, etc. Nasse, sup. 

4 This I infer from the fact that in later times we find lands of free and base tenure 
intermixed. Seebohm, sup., 13, 23. 5 Stubbs, I. 33, 103. 


common law the Hundred still is "the unit of our finance and police 
administration " : a claim for damages against the community not other- 
wise provided for would have to be preferred against the Hundred. 1 The 
relation of the Hundred to the host, and the authority of the Hundred as a 
judicial court are both clearly noticed by Tacitus. Speaking of the struc- 
ture of the German army he says: " Definitur et numerus : centeni ex 
singulis pagis sunt." l The very numbers are fixed : a hundred men come 
from each pagus.' He then goes on to say " idque ipsum inter suos 
vocantur, et quod prius numerus fuit jam no men et honor est." 2 ' And in 
fact they are called the Hundred among themselves, so that what was a 
mere number has become a name and title.' The reader will compare the 
cases of a modern County Eleven or University Eight. Again, describing 
the national assemblies or meetings of the whole tribe, the writer tells us 
that in them were appointed the principes or magistrates to administer 
justice throughout the pagi and vici (Hundreds and Townships) ; and then 
speaking of these magistrates he says : " Cente?ii singulis ex plebe co?nites 
consilium simul et auctoritas adsun?." 3 ' Each of these has a hundred free- 
men sitting beside him to advise and support him.' Here however 
we should see not a delegation of a hundred assessors sitting beside a 
magistrate, but the actual Hundred court or meeting (liundredes-gemot), 
consisting of the theoretic hundred free heads of households, assembled 
with a magistrate as chairman. This man in England would be the 
/tundredes-ealdor, 4 or Hundred-man, corresponding to the centenarius of 
Frankish law, originally elective but in later times appointed by the king, 
possibly by the ealdorman of the shire. We also hear of the gerefa, reeve 
or sheriff, in connexion with the Hundred court. He was essentially a 
Royal officer, the steward of the King's rights, and never at any time elec- 
tive. The sittings of the court or gemot were held once a month, the 
judges were the whole body of freemen or suitors, who were bound to be 
present. In later times we find that the tenants of a manor in the absence 
of their lord might be represented by four good men and their reeve. But 
even then special meetings might be summoned twice a year, at which the 
whole male population would be requested to attend. 5 The Hundred 

court enjoyed full civil and criminal jurisdiction : it attested 
C °Sstancf Stwills and transfers of land. Suits could only be carried to the 

County court or to the King's hearing by way of appeal from 
proceedings in the Hundred. It had a common purse to and from which 
payments were made : suitors attending the meetings were under special 

1 See Earle's Land Charters, xlix., where the case of the damages for the burning of 
the castle of Nottingham by the mob in 1832 is cited. 

2 Ger mania, c. 6. 3 Germ., c. 12. 4 Laws of Eadgar, IV. cc. 8, 10. 

1 See Henr. /., c. 7, ss. 4 and 8 ; c. 8, s. 1. Yet again we hear of a jury of twelve of 
the 'eldest' thegns being put forward for the transaction of business. ALthelred, VIII. 
c. 3. This would not do away with the general duty of attendance. 

R. H. M 


legal protection (grit/i), and persons neglecting to come when summoned 
were fined. 1 

Highest in the scale of popular assemblies came the county court {scir- 

gemot) or folkmote (folc-gemdi)* in the fullest sense, answering to the 

national gatherings of Tacitus, and meeting twice a year. Poli- 

Th Court nty tical anc * le g islative > as well as judicial functions must originally 
have belonged to these assemblies, of which a trace is pointed 
out as late as the time of ^Elthelstan, when the bishops, thegns, and 
people (villani) of Kent in a general meeting at Faversham declared 
their acceptance of certain measures recently passed by the King's Witena- 
gemot at Greatley. 3 But apart from this case, in times posterior to the 
Heptarchy political and legislative authority is only found in the King's 
The Witenagemot, which was not a representative assembly, except 

Witenage- in the sense in which at the present day the House of Lords 
might be said to represent the landed interest. When the 
petty Kingdoms were consolidated the Anglo-Saxon mind failed to devise 
any system of representation beyond that of the Township in the courts 
of the Hundred and Shire. The highest prerogatives were vested in a 
Council of Magnates who could give their personal attendance at Court, 
and the functions of the shire-mote were cut down to those of a Hundred 
court with an extended area of jurisdiction. The county court was at- 
tended by the same classes of persons as the Hundred court : it would 
decide questions between inhabitants of different Hundreds, and it would 
entertain appeals or quasi-appeals from the Hundreds. Again, reference 
to the King was not permitted till after application to the Shire as well as 
the Hundred. 

The division of the country into shires (sard) emanated from Wessex. 

There we hear of them from the time of Ine's legislation. We shall 

not find Mercia mapped out in shires till the time of Eadgar 

Divisions (957—975) ^ ar| d Deira first figures as 'Yorkshire' (Eoferwicscir) 
a century later. 4 The establishment of shires in our sense 
followed on the break up of the tribal divisions, and indicated the adoption 
of a more uniform national system. But to the end of the Anglo-Saxon 
period the word sa'r, meaning a district or division, 5 was also used to 
denote subdivisions corresponding to Hundreds, and, in fact, to denote 
governments or districts of any kind. A diocese is spoken of as a ' bishop's 

1 ALthelred, III. c. I ; Eadgar, I. c. 3. For the distribution of the Hundreds, Wapen- 
takes, and Wards, much fewer and larger in the North than in the South, and questions 
connected therewith, see Stubbs, I. 106, etc. 2 sEifred, c. 38, s. 1. 

3 ALthelstan, III. p. 148. Schmid. Kemble, Saxons, II. 233. Stubbs, I. 129. 

4 Cod. Dip., No. 1343. Northumberland is distinguished as a shire in 1065. Chron. 
C and D. 

5 The derivation usually given is from scirian, sciran, to shear or divide. Schmid, 
Glossary. Mr. Earle regards the primary sense as that of function or office, Land 
Charters, xlv. ; a use common in Boeda. Schmid, sub voce. 


shire.' Within the limits of Yorkshire we have Richmondshire, Hallam- 
shire, Riponshire, and other ' shires.' In Domesday the city of York is 
reckoned as six ' shires ' besides that of the archbishop. A twelfth cen- 
tury manuscript gives Cornwall as divided into six 'small shires.' 1 In 
Domesday it had seven Hundreds, and now it has nine. 2 

Of the Anglo-Saxon towns nothing need be said, except that their 

constitution gives no support to the idea of any survival of 

Towns Roman municipal institutions. The organization of the towns 

followed strictly that of the country districts. A petty town 

was a Township, a larger town ranked as a Hundred, and a city as a 


Another order distinct from those already noticed might be found in 
the priests. Of their position however we hear little in Tacitus, and in 
fact nothing special, except that on them fell the burden of 
Heathen executing capital sentences when decreed by the assemblies. 3 
nes 00 . Again, after the migration we hear little of the priests, and 
particularly little or nothing of any opposition on their part to the con- 
version to Christianity. When the Chief or King declares for the new 
Faith we shall find them bowing acquiescence. Apparently their position 
was less distinctive and important than among the Celts. 

Of the religion of our Teutonic ancestors little has been handed down 

to us, owing to their early conversion to Christianity. Enough however 

is traceable to enable mycologists to identify their gods with 

^God 1110 ^ ose °f tne North German and Scandinavian peoples, where 

paganism held its sway down to times comparatively recent. 

The result discloses a system closely resembling that already described in 

connexion with Celtic Britain, the cults of both races being part of their 

Aryan heritage. 

The days of our week and the genealogies of the early Anglo-Saxon 
leaders give us the names of their chief deities. First of these 
Woden " was Woden (Old Norse, Ooinn; Old High German, Wuotan), 
from whom the fourth day of our week takes its name. Like the chief 
god of the Celts (Ogmios) he was always identified with the classical 
Mercury, 4 as being the inventor of runes or letters ; the guardian of roads ; 
the patron of all civilizing arts. He is also generally described as the 
arbiter of wars and the giver of victory. The personal attributes given to 
him enable us to refer him to the same origin as the Celtic * Mercury.' 
He is One-eyed, a W T anderer, the Swift god ; 5 one who can penetrate the 

1 Printed by Mr. Hinde with his Symeon, I. 221. 

2 See Stubbs, I. 102, 106, III. 3 Germania, 7, 10, II. 

4 "Deorum maxime Mercurium colunt." Tacit., Germ , 9, 39. For a series of later 
authorities see Kemble, Saxons, I. 336, and Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, transl. J. S. 
Stallybrass, I. 120. 

5 J. Grimm, I. 131. It "can scarcely be doubted" that the name Wuotan is derived 
from the Old High German verb Watan, Wuot, = meare, cum impetu ferri. 


inmost depths of the forest. He is crowned with a hat [of rays], robed 

with a mantle [of clouds]. The Great Bear is his wain ; or again, he rides 

a tall white horse, sometimes described as ' the eight-footed steed Sleipnir, 

the best of all steeds.' 1 Thus Woden must have been originally a 

sun-god, afterwards expanded into the Maker and Giver of all things. 

The sum of his attributes is "the all-pervading creative and formative 

power." He is the shaper and maker of all things ; of whose gift are 

victory in war, the fertility of the soil, and all other earthly blessings. 2 

For his wife Woden had Fricge or Frigg, the ' lovable ' woman. 

She, as consort of the highest god, takes precedence of all other 
fric°*6 • . 

to ' ladies in the Teutonic Olympus; 3 the sixth day of our week 

is named after her ; but no special department seems to have been 

assigned to her. 

Next to Woden, and in fact sometimes placed before him, we have 

Thunor (O.N., Thorr; O.H.G., Donar), from whom our Thursday takes 
its name. His position is quite clear ; he is the Hammer-God, 
the God of Thunder and bad weather, the exact counter- 
part of the Celtic Taranis or Taranos. Sometimes he is spoken of as 

Woden's son, sometimes as his ancestor. His worship was especially 

strong in Scandinavia. 4 

Tuesday apparently comes from Tiu (O. H. G., Zio ; O. N., Tyr). 

"Represented in the Edda as Oftinn's son, he may seem inferior to 
him in power and moment ; but the two really fall into one, 
inasmuch as both are directors of war and battle, and the 

fame of victory proceeds from each of them alike." 5 

Tiu is identified with Mars : he was emphatically the Norse god of 

battles ; represented as one-handed, probably because he could only give 
victory to one side. Wolves and ravens follow his tracks. 
Associated with him is the female Hilta or Hild. For the 

origin of Tiu we need only turn to his name, which is etymologically the 

same as the Sanskrit Dyaus, the Greek Zevs, and the Latin [Jus] Jovis. 6 

He was originally a sky-god, who became differentiated as the god of war. 

Woden, Thunor, and Tiu will be the Mercury, Hercules, and Mars given 

as the three gods of the old Germans. 7 

Next to Tiu we may take Frea (O. H. G., Fro ; O. N., Freyr), the god of 

love and fruitfulness and plenty. Rain and sunshine were in his gift. 
He had a wonderful boar, " whose golden bristles lighted up 
the night like day." The boar drew his master's car, and 

could gallop along with the speed of a horse. 

1 Grimm, 146-151. 

2 Id., 133. For place names preserving the name of Woden, such as Wanborough 
(Wilts), Wembury (Devon), and the W T ansdyke (Somerset), see Kemble, I. 344- 

3 Grimm, sup., 299. 

4 Grimm, sup., 180-188. For place names in England connected with Thunor, see 
Kemble, I. 347. 5 Grimm, 196. 6 Id., 165, 196, 207, 208. 7 Tacit., Germ., c. 9. 


From the National Museum at Copenhagen j 0*5 metre high. 



Associated with Frea was his sister Fro (Norse Freyja), just as we find 

Libera associated with Liber. The emblems of productiveness were 

attributed to Frea : and the lustral fires of Yule and Mid- 
Fro. ' 

summer were kindled in his honour. These, as among the 

Celts, were lighted from virgin fire made by rubbing of sticks (will-fire, 1 

noth-feuer). The wheel also played a part in these rites, a wheel covered 

with straw being set on fire and so rolled along. 2 

The reader's attention has already been called to the fact that of the 
four marked points in the sun's annual course, the Celts seem to have paid 
most attention to the beginning and end of summer {Beltaine and Sam- 
huiri), the Teutons to Midwinter and Midsummer. 

The want of clear evidence of the worship of Frea in Anglo-Saxon 
records is fully compensated by the testimony of a thirteenth century 
chronicler to popular faith in such rites in his own time. 3 

Our Christmas processions of the boar's head may possibly be sur- 
vivals of the same cult. 

As may be supposed, Frea the god, his sister Fro or Freyja, and Frigg 
the wife of Woden, were often confounded. If Frigg was the ' lovable ' 
one, Fro was the ' gladsome ' one. 4 

Like Dionysos, Frea did not belong to the inner circle of Olympus : he 
was not one of the Ases who dwelled in Asgard ; but one of the Vanir 
dwelling in Vanaheim. 5 

Saturday (Sczteresdceg) may take its name from a god Saetere, for whose 
existence further evidence has been sought in the names of the towns Satter- 
thwaite in Lancashire, Satterleigh and Sceteresbyrig in Devon- 
shire, and in the old name of the plant crowfoot, satorlade.^ 
But little has been ascertained concerning Ssetere, and it may be that the 
name of the day was simply borrowed from the Latin " Saturni dies." The 
reckoning of time by weeks of seven days filtered into the barbaric nations 
through contact with Rome ; the Romans again having taken it from the 

Baldor or Bealdor (O. N. Ba\dr = lord or prince) was the Northern 
Apollo ; the bright god of light and beauty : his son is Brond 
the Ray ; he dies to come to life again. His myth, too long 

1 Kemble, I. 361. 

2 For the wheel see Grimm, sup., 617, 619 ; also the passage from the Harleian MS. 
No. 2,345, p. 50, cited by Kemble, sup. Grimm suggests that noth-feuer v-> not con- 
nected with noth, need, but with an old hnot-fiur= friction-fire. He is inclined to 
identify Frea with the Norse god Niorftr, and the German goddess Nerthus, mentioned 
by Tacitus, p. 217 ; for these Kemble suggests Lunus and Luna. Without these we 
should have neither moon-god nor moon-goddess. 

3 Seethe rites recorded in the Lanercost Chronicle, A. D. 1268 and 1282; Kemble, 
sup., 358. The chronicler connected the worship with " Liber Pater." 

4 Grimm, 303, 305. 

5 Grimm, sup., 2\%. 6 Id., 247 ; Kemble, 372. 


to be given here, is described as one of the most beautiful and striking in 
the whole compass of Northern mythology. 1 

Of the practical religion of the people much the same account might be 
given as of that of the Celts, 2 and again we must refer to the instructive 
passage in Cnut's Laws. 3 Large scope was given to belief in 
Beliefs 1 w ig nts an d elves, witches and giants. Most popular of wood- 
sprites was probably little Hode, the German Hodeken, im- 
mortalised by Robin Hood. 4 

Besides gods the Anglo-Saxons had their fiends or spirits of evil. The 
poem of Beowulf, an old Scandinavian lay, translated into later Anglo- 
Saxon, informs us of Grendel (identified with the Norse Loki) 
P Evll. ° ana - n ^ s mother, wild, monstrous beings, bringers of evil, who 
fed upon men. Mr. Kemble places these among the rough 
deities of nature like the classical Titans. Grendel's mother is commemo- 
rated in the popular expression " Devil's Dam " ; and in the legends of 
early writers, such as Caedmon and Guthlac, the instrument of temptation 
is always the son and satellite of Satan, who, like Loki, himself lies bound 
in hell. Another spirit of nature was Nicor the water-spirit (hence Water 
Nixes and old Nick), the enemy of the sailor whom he dragged to the 
bottom of the sea and devoured. 

Among the fearful beings whose power was dreaded even by the gods 
was Hel, mistress of the cold and joyless underworld. Hel was not herself 
the agent of Death, nor was her realm a place of torment ; it 
was simply the classical Hades, the dim, shadowy abode of 
those who had not earned by a warrior's death a seat in the joyous Wsel- 
heal of Othin, where the mighty dead sang and drank and fought for ever- 
more. For the perjurer and secret murderer Nastrond was reserved, a 
noisome den of cold and darkness, peopled with poisonous serpents. In 
Christian times the distinction between Hel and Nastrond was effaced, and 
the two were combined to form the modern notion of Hell. 

The Eddas, the songs and tales from which our knowledge of Northern 

mythology is chiefly derived, 5 have an especial interest as being a reflexion 

of the spirit of the Northern people ; in fact, the only real 

and Sagas pi cture of early Teutonic life and feeling that we have of their 

own drawing. " Throughout there is ever-striving energy, 

determination of purpose, the physical power seconding the unbending 

will, a courage that is manifest not only in the contempt of death, but in 

patient endurance of suffering, with a distaste of all politic devices and 

diplomatic intrigues. There are no applications of gentleness and mercy, 

but there is a strong sense of justice, and an aversion to wanton cruelty ; 

1 Kemble, 363 ; Grimm, 347. 2 See above, p. 32, 3 Cnut, II. c. 3. 

4 From Hode we have Hodes ac, Hood's Oak, Worcestershire ; Hudswell, Yorks ; 
and the family name Hudspeth, Hood's Path. H. Bradley, Academy, 15th September, 
1883. 5 See Appendix B to this chapter. 


again there is nothing spiritual in Scandinavian mythology, all its creatures 
are large-limbed, strong, and jovial . . . they are supernaturally 
endowed with the elements of physical enjoyment. Asceticism is unknown 
to them, but so are the impurities that stain the classical and oriental 
mythologies. All are man and wife, and conjugal fidelity is so much 
a matter of course that it is not spoken of as a special virtue." x 

Tacitus speaks as if letters were not known in the Germany of his time, 
but it is clear that the Anglo-Saxons brought with them the Runic alpha- 
bet, having apparently adopted it since the time of Tacitus. 2 
Alphabet ^ ^ e use °^ come d money again was another step in advance 
which must have been taken since the days of Tacitus. In the 
laws of ^Ethelbirht the fines are all expressed in scatta and scillinga ; no other 
standards of value are given. The primitive character of the code, and 
the slow rate of Anglo-Saxon progress, will justify us in carrying back the 
use of this currency to days at least coeval with the landing in Britain. 
The Kentish scat was = a farthing, four making a penny, and twenty a 
Mo shilling. But throughout the greater part of England the 

unit was the silver penny, of which five made a Wessex shil- 
ling, four a Mercian shilling, two hundred and forty being reckoned to the 
pound of silver. The types of the earliest sccetta as yet found seem 
remotely derived from Roman originals. 3 

As in the Germania of Tacitus, so in England down to the latest days 
of Anglo-Saxon ascendancy, the spear was the main weapon of offence. In 
the illustrations to Saxon MSS. the armed retainer with his 
Tf 3 War S s P ear anc * shield invariably figures at the door of the noble 
mansion. The spear (gar, alegar, Franca 4 ) might be used 
either for thrusting as a pike, or for hurling as a javelin ; but probably 
there were long and short spears, as noticed by Tacitus. 5 The early 
Saxon shield (Jarga) appears to have been very like the Celtic shield, 
round, made of light wood covered with leather, and held at arm's length 
by a handle fixed behind the boss. 6 Later we shall find a large three- 
cornered shield mostly used by the heavy-armed foot. The sword, 
' costliest of irons,' must have been the distinction of the rich. Differing 
only in size was the dagger-knife (seax, bill), both being of a very special 
type. The seax is specially mentioned by Nennius, 7 and by some the 

1 J. H. Burton, History of Scotland, I. 236, 242. 

2 Bseda mentions a monument to Horsa in East Kent "suo nomine insigne," H. £., 
I. 15. The Runes themselves are mostly capitals of the Roman alphabet with modifi- 
cations. Elton, Origins, 378, citing Rhys' Lectures, 321. See Kemble, Archceol., 
XXVIII. 338. Runic monuments can be traced long before the year 450 of our era. 

3 See Ruding, Annals of Coinage, vol I. 1 15, and plates ; Hawkins, Silver Coins of 
England, 23 ; Schmid, Gesetze, 593, 594. 4 Cod. Dip., No. 699. 

5 Germ., c. 6. For spear-heads of different sizes, see Wright, Celt, Roman, and 
Saxon, 409 (Plate). 6 Wright, sup., 412. 

7 " Nimith eure saxes." Hist. Britt., s. 46, p. 37, ed. Stevenson. 


name " Saxon " is connected with it. 1 The swords of this type have not 
been found in the earliest graves, but it seems difficult not to suppose both 
swords and daggers primitive. The hilts were richly worked in silver and 
bronze, and sword-blades may be seen in our Museums beautifully inlaid 
with golden inscriptions, as described in the Beowulf. 2 Arrow heads have 
been found, but the bow does not appear to have ever come into general 
use as a weapon of war. The axe, the woodman's implement, seems to 
have been chiefly introduced by the Danes. 


Folc-land and Boc-land 

The above two words, with a third, Icenland, may be said to be the only terms found 
during the Anglo-Saxon period to distinguish lauds of different tenure. Bat Icenland as 
a term of classification is not co-ordinate with the other two. Lcenland (lent-land) was 
land set or let either for lives or a term of years, with reversion to the grantor or his heirs. 
Either folc-land or boc-land could be dealt with in this manner ; the incidents of lcenland 
therefore throw no light on the distinction between folc-land and doc-land. 3 The nature 
of boc-land is not in dispute. It was land held by boc, i.e. book, writing or charter, 
which enjoyed certain privileges by virtue of such charter. The privileges were of two 
sorts. The land on the one hand might get a remission more or less complete from the 
regalian dues and prestations above mentioned, while on the other hand the owner for the 
time being would enjoy a power of testamentary disposition which did not appertain to 
lands of ordinary tenure. 4 From these exemptions boc-land was also known as terra libera, 
and later as " freeland." (See the renderings of King Alfred's Will, Birch, Cart. Sax., II. 
177-182.) The privileges, once conferred, would " run with the land" in the hands of 
successive owners, unless cancelled or revoked by the king by a proper deed, as we shall 

We have already intimated our view that folc-land was simply the land owned and 
occupied by the land-folc, b under folc-riht, the ordinary land of the country, held by the 
people, in lots great or small, under the general common law. Whatever had not been 
converted into boc-land would be folc-land. The view originally propounded by Mr. John 
Allen in the year 1830 {Royal Prerogative in England), and accepted by Mr. Kemble 
and almost all subsequent writers, is that folc-land was land belonging to the people in a 
corporate capacity as a nation ; that at the first settlement reserves of land not allotted to 
individuals were kept in the hands of the State — like the ager publicus of Roman history 
— and that these lands remained at the disposal of the State, that is to say, of the king 
and Witan. It is suggested that from this fund the endowments of the church were 
mostly taken, and also the endowments of the king and other official personages, but it 
is contended that even then large reserves remained of which either the usufruct might be 
given to individuals, subject to the paramount rights of the community, or which by a 
proper act of the government might be utterly severed from the other folc-land and con- 
verted into boc-land, estates "of perpetual inheritance." We are also led to suppose 
that the bulk, if not the whole of the lands on which the privileges of boc-land are con- 
ferred by the charters were taken from the fund. 6 So down to the time of the Norman 

1 Compare the name " Long-knives " formerly given by the Red Indians to the North 
American trappers. Ruxton, Scenes in Far West. 2 Wright, 410. 

3 See Bishop Stubbs, I. 83, citing Mr. H. C. Lodge, Essays on Anglo-Saxon Law, 
95 ; also Kemble, Saxons, I. 310. 

4 For the remissions see Kemble, L 294, and e.g. Cod. Dip., Nos. 216, 257 ; also for 
testamentary power, No. 269. 

5 For this word see Chronicle E, a.d. 1066. 

6 See Kemble, I. 289-298 ; Allen is less explicit. He betrays a prudent misgiving 
when he says that " it is not quite correct to say that all the lands of the Anglo-Saxons 
were either folc-land or boc-land." Of course not under his theory. If folc-land was 


Conquest, and then we are told that in Domesday the whole remaining folc-land appears 
as Terra Regis (Allen, 152 ; Freeman, N. C, I. 102, ed. 1867). 

A primary objection to this theory may be taken in the fact that it leaves no name for 
the allotments of the original settlers and their descendants, the word "ethel" intro- 
duced by Mr. Kemble being unknown to the laws and charters. 1 The allegation with 
respect to the Terrce Regis may be disposed of by a reference to Domesday itself. These 
lands are given at the head of the list in all counties where any such were to be found, 
and they were found in all counties except Middlesex, Shropshire, and Cheshire. In 
every case the name of the previous owner is given. In many cases the previous owner was 
the Confessor ; in other cases it was Harold or one of his brothers, or some other indivi- 
dual who had forfeited his land either before or after the battle of Hastings. The lands 
put down to the Confessor doubtless included the official Crown lands, but these could not 
form the whole or even the greater part of his property. So with respect to the then late 
earls. A large portion of the Isle of Wight is put down to Tostig, but it never formed 
part of his earldom (see below). His holdings there therefore must have been private 
property. Of any State-lands (apart from Crown demesne), or lands not treated as the 
private property of individuals, there is not a mention. The same may be said of the 
period before the Conquest. 

No evidence is forthcoming of any State-lands except the official endowments, and 
the evidence for these, as already stated, though sufficient, is but fragmentary. A sup- 
posed reference to folc-land as land at the disposal of the State has been found in a 
well-known letter addressed by Baeda to Ecgberht, then recently appointed to the See 
of York. Bseda is lecturing the Bishop upon his episcopal duties, and pointing out 
matters urgently needing reform. Among other things he presses for the creation of 
new bishoprics, and for their endowment he suggests the appropriation of monastic 
estates. 'Many of these,' says he, 'are held by men monks only in name, leading 
most irregular lives, but refusing to contribute even to the defence of the country from 
invasion. To apply such lands {hujusmodi loca) to the foundation of a bishopric would 
be no transgression {proevaricatio) but a work of merit.' 2 Mr. Kemble, in his transla- 
tion, by omitting the all-important word of reference, 'such' ^'hujusmodi"), has given 
a wrong meaning to the passage, 3 making it appear that Baeda is speaking of indeter- 
minate lands of which the government could dispose. 

A very doubtful charter of Offa which refers in a vague way to certain lands as having 
been formerly in the possession of the comites (a title unknown to the period) and prin- 
cipes of the kings of Kent {Cod. Dip., No. in) need hardly be noticed. If the charter 
was beyond suspicion land in the possession of noblemen would not be in itself evidence 
of the existence of State-lands. Again Mr. Kemble points with confidence to a charter 
of King iEthelwulf {Cod. Dip., No. 260; Earle, p. 119) as proof of the existence of 
State-land (a.d. 847. Saxons, II. ix.). Here no doubt we seem to have a grant made 
by the Witan to the king of twenty hides {manentes, cassati) to be enjoyed by him during 
his life with power to devise them by will at his death, the land receiving all the usual 
exemptions of boc-land. On the face of it, no doubt, the charter purports to be a grant 
by the Witan to yEthelwulf, but nothing is said of the source from whence the lands 
have come. But the king in the exordium of the document clearly claims for himself 
the merit of an intended eleemosynary gift, implying that the gift would come out of 
his own means ; and in the next place he tells us that under those circumstances he has, 
with the consent of his bishops and princes, ordered the particular hides in question to 
be entered to him as boc-land {mihi in heriditatem propriam describere jusi). To us it 
seems pretty clear that the land was the king's from the first, folc-\a.x\d, such as we shall 
find other kings owning. But as folc-land it would not be devisable by will ; to enable 
the king to devise it the Witan had agreed to convert it into boc-land for him, the 
king's intention clearly being to leave it to the Church. The transaction would be 

State-land and boc-land converted State-land, where would the possessions of the ordin- 
ary landowners be? See pp. 133-137' 

1 Saxons, I. 289, 298, where folc-land is carefully distinguished from the lots of the 
first "markmen," an invented term. 

2 5 Nov., 734. Baeda died in the month of May following. Haddan and Stubbs, III. 

319, 3 26 - 

3 "Quia hujusmodi maxima et plurima sunt loca," rendered "since there are both very 
numerous and very extensive tracts." Saxons, I. 290. 


simply a conveyance "to the use of his will," in the language of more modern 

More to the point seem references to hides of land as being situate in communi terra 
{Cod. Dip., Nos. 800 and 995), the Latin term in the latter case being rendered "in 
corrupt Saxon" by "on Sam gemannan lande." Mr. Earle (p. 394) and Sir F. Pollock 
{Land Laws, 194) take communis terra as equivalent to folc-land. But if a given piece 
of folc-land could be described as communis terra it would certainly not be State-land or 
public domain, because neither before the Conquest nor after it did "common" lands 
or "common" rights ever imply anything of the sort, or anything but a particular mode 
of use and enjoyment of land by ascertained persons with definite rights. A "Common " 
as something free to all the world (except perhaps under some private Act of Parliament) 
is a thing only known to popular imagination. The communis terra of these charters 
must be taken simply to mean the Common Field, 1 folc-land no doubt until converted 
into boc-land, but strictly private property. With respect to the land in the former of 
the two charters it is stated to have come into the king's hands through the forfeiture of 
a previous owner, so that it could not possibly have been State-land. 

The uncertainty with respect to the nature of folc-land has arisen from the paucity 
of the references to it that have as yet been found. The ordinary land-tenure of a 
country would need no description to the people. In fact it would hardly have a special 
name. In the Codex Diplomaticus (No. 281, Earle, p. 125) we have an exchange of 
land between /Ethelberht II. of Kent and his thegn Wullaf. The king had already 
given him five hides (aratra) of land at Mersham to be held as boc-land; now with the 
consent of his Witan he gives him in lieu thereof other five hides at " Wassingvvelle" 
(Washingwell, Kemble). This land is described as abutting on the west side on folc-land 
of the king's, then in the occupation of Wighelm and Wullaf, thus showing that the 
king could own folc-land as others might. The charter further tells us that the five 
hides {suiting) at Washingwell having been 'booked,' i.e. converted into boc-land, the 
king took back the hides at Mersham as folc-land, showing that boc-land could be 

Next we have the will of Ealdorman {Dux) Alfred (a.d. 871-889, CD., No. 317, 
Earle, p. 149) dealing with his " boc-lond." This to the amount of eighty-six hides in 
Surrey and twenty hides in Kent he devises to his wife Werburg and his daughter 
Alhthryth. A son also he had, by name ^Ethelwald, whom we must suppose to have 
been illegitimate because his father only gives him five hides of " boc-lond," expressing 
however a hope that the king will allow him to have his (the testator's) folc-land in 
addition. If not then ^Elfred requires his widow to give him out of the lands devised 
to her either seven hides at Horsley or ten hides at Lingfield, whichever she pleases. 
It has been suggested that the folc-land to which Alfred referred was State-land of which 
he had a grant for life, a Icen in fact, and that his hope was that the king would renew 
the grant in his son's favour. In the absence of any satisfactory evidence of the exist- 
ence of State-land we prefer the view that the position of the son being doubtful Alfred's 
hope was that the king either by some judicial decision or by some exercise of the Royal 
prerogative, might declare him legitimate, and so entitle him to succeed to the small 
amount of his father's folc-land. 2 

Finally in a Law of Eadweard the Elder we have boc-land and folc-land set before us 
as the two classes of landed property under one or other of which any man's estate must 
fall. The king is denouncing those who holding land by a disputed title refuse either 
to give up the land or to appear in court, when duly summoned, to defend their case. 
Right, says the king, must not be refused, ' whether in respect of boc-land or of folc- 
land.^ The wrongdoer must be summoned. 'If he then shall [be found to] have no 
right, neither to boc-land nor folc-land, 4 let him forfeit to the king for the first refusal 
30 shillings,' etc. This division must be taken to be exhaustive. It seems impossible 

1 So too Prof. Vinogradoff, "Folkland," Eng. Hist. Review, 1893, p. 15. 

2 See Vinogradoff, sup., 9. Mr. Earle would infer from the will that folc-land could 
not go to a woman, but nothing appears as to the devolution of the folc-land if ^Ethel- 
wald did not get it. The testator Alfred was the man who gave to Christ Church, 
Canterbury, the well-known Golden Gospels, now at Stockholm. Earle. See West- 
wood's "Facsimiles." 

3 " a$or oSSe on boclande oSSe on folclande," Eadw. Elder, I. c. 2. 

4 " ne on boclande ne on folclande." 

EDI) AS 173 

to restrict folc-land to State-lands, even to State-lands in the hands of an individual. 
Why should the king fail to denounce refusal of justice in respect of land of the 
ordinary tenure of the country? It is important to notice that with respect to folc-land 
reference is made to the jurisdiction of the 'reeve' {gerefa) 1 doubtless in the Hundred 

With respect to the concurrence of the Witan in grants of boc-land it is found mainly 
in the early days. After the time of ^Elfred the kings make such grants without refer- 
ence to the Witan. With respect to the principle on which their assent was sought, 
publicity, and the safe-guarding of the interests of the grantees (as in the case of wills 
published in court), may have been one reason. But a broader one may be suggested. 
A district, whether Township, Hundred, or Shire, being liable to certain burdens, 
whatever was taken off part of the "district, would throw an increased liability on the 
rest. The concurrence of the Witan may have been an assent to the extra tax thus 
imposed on the non-exempted parts of the district. Or again their sanction may have 
been required on account of the interference with the ordinary law of succession, and 
the consequent curtailment of the rights of heirs involved in the creation of boc-land. A 
man might will away his boc-land and disinherit his legal heirs. Of his folc-land he could 
not deprive them. 


The Eddas 

Two collections of legends and tales are generally known by this name, "Edda," mean- 
ing ' great-grandmother.' 

I. A. prose collection, long ago known as the Edda, and ascribed to Snorri Sturluson, 
a great Scandinavian scholar who lived 1178-1241. The tales were probably older than 
his time but may have been arranged by him. Three MSS. of this work are extant, all 
of the 14th century : it is often called the younger Edda. 

II. A collection in verse the solitary MS. of which was discovered in 1643, the work 
being conjecturally attributed to Ssemund Sigfusson, a scion of the royal House of 
Norway, who lived in Iceland, 1055-1132. These ballads were, for wan*: of any other 
title, styled Sremunds' Edda, or the Elder Edda ; the style being more archaic than that 
of Snorri's Edda. The versification is very simple ; the songs, which treat of mythical 
and religious subjects, are thought to date from the 8th or 9th century. " There is 
no doubt that they were collected in Iceland and by an Icelander." Sophus Bugge 
rejects Saemund altogether, arid dates the collection circa 1240. {Encyclop. Brit., 
" E. W. G.") See also the Corpus Poeticum Boreale of Messrs. Vigfusson & York 


Ridings — Wapentakes — Hundreds 

We have spoken of Wapentakes as divisions now corresponding to Hundreds. The 
two however should not be regarded as historically identical. The Wapentakes were 
apparently a later arrangement superinduced by the Scandinavian conquerors of the 
9th and 10th centuries on the earlier Hundred system. In fact the Wapentakes like 
the Lathes of Kent and the Rapes of Sussex represented aggregates of Hundreds. 
Yorkshire, as is well known, is divided into three Trithings or Ridings, each corre- 
sponding in some respects to a county (Ellis, Domesday, I. 178). Each of these Ridings 
again is subdivided into Wapentakes. Lincolnshire was divided into three ' Parts,' 
Lindsey, Kesteven, and Holland, Lindsey being subdivided into three Ridings, and 
these again into Wapentakes. In Domesday the Wapentakes are divided into Hundreds 
in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Rutland, and Lincolnshire. Canon Isaac Taylor argues that 
properly three Hundreds made one Wapentake, and he has certainly proved this with 
respect to the East Riding of Yorkshire {Domesday Studies, I. 67, etc.). In Lincoln- 
shire again we have, e.g., 84 Hundreds in the aggregate with 28 Wapentakes, but 
the distribution of the Hundreds is irregular. In Leicestershire we have no mention 
in the great Survey of Hundreds, but only of Wapentakes. These are now called 
Hundreds, but their large area, triple that of average Hundreds, suggests that they were 
ieally Wapentakes of three Hundreds each. These Leicestershire Hundreds average 

1 Vinogradoff, 6. I gladly acknowledge my indebtedness to this valuable article, but 
I must state that the Professor's views were mine before his article was in print. 



about 136 square miles each, the Hundreds in the Southern counties averaging from 
2 3 to 34 square miles each. The large size of the Northern Wapentakes may- 
be accounted for in the same way. But with respect to the Lincolnshire Hundreds 
it must be pointed out that they were very small, corresponding in fact to Tithings or 
Townships, and consisting of twelve carucates or hides each {Liber Niger Scaccarii, 
Hearne, 399-423. Stubbs). So again in the time of Eadward the Confessor Stamford 
was rated as twelve and a half Hundreds. In actual fact it was only equal to one 
proper Hundred and a half. (Round, Domesday Studies, I. 200.) 
Where the Wapentakes still exist they have replaced the Hundreds for all purposes. 





Mission of St. Augustine — Foundation of Sees of Canterbury, London and Rochester — 
Northumbrian Affairs — /Ethelfrith — Eadwine — Paulinus, Bishop of York — Conver- 
sion of Deira — Penda — Oswald — Mission of Aidan to Bernicia — Oswiu — St. Chad — 
Archbishop Theodore — Wilfrith 

IN the general wreck of Roman life and civilisation in Britain Chris- 
tianity had fallen to a low ebb. The poor hill districts retained by 
the Christian Celts were weighed down by the richer tracts in 
Pagar^Hands. tne nan( ^ s °f tne P a g an invaders. For 150 years Great Britain 
had been cut off from the outer world. But this barbarism, 
this isolation, could not last. Intercourse with the Continent was first 
resumed in Kent, the natural landing-place for continental importations. 
King ^Ethelbirht, kept within bounds so long as Ceawlin lived, 
had profited by the fall of his great rival (590-593). He 
became overlord of the East Saxons, whose king Sledda was married to 
his sister Ricula. "The East Saxon kingdom, it must be remembered, 
comprised Hertfordshire and Middlesex as well as Essex itself." London 
also passed under the sway of ^thelbirht. 1 His dominions so far would 
correspond with those of Cunobelinos. Bseda however further asserts 
that his rule 2 extended over all the Anglic peoples south of the Humber ; 
a statement hard to accept in any but a very general sense. Of any real 
overlordship over central Britain we have not a trace. 

^Ethelbirht's prestige however had doubtless been enhanced by his 

marriage to a Frankish princess, Berhta or Bertha, daughter of King 

Charibert of Paris. 3 Her friends had stipulated that she 

er a " should be allowed to retain her religion ; and a Frankish 

Bishop, Liuthard of Senlis, had been sent as her chaplain. 4 

The lapse of Britain from the pale of Christianity could not but be 
deeply felt by Churchmen. Bseda tells the story of the handsome boys, 

with fair complexions and silky hair, standing in the slave 
GrGsrorv I • 

market at Rome, who moved the pity of the Deacon Gregory, 

afterwards Pope Gregory I., "The Great." He enquired of their origin, 

and was told that they came from Britain, a heathen land, and that by 

1 Bseda, H.E., II. 3 ; Green, sup., 214. 2 " Imperabat." 

3 A.D. 583-588. Green, 21 1. 

4 Bseda, H.E., I. 25. W. Thorn, Decern. Scriptt., 1767, cited Haddan and Stubbs. 


176 " ANGELI NON ANGLI" [a.d. 585-597 

race they were " Ajigli" (Angles). " Right," said he, "Angles indeed 
(angeli) they are in face, and should be coheirs with such in Heaven." 
The story goes on that he further enquired of their province and was told 
thati they came from Deira. "De ira" ? "From wrath truly must they be 
saved and brought to the mercy of Christ. But who is their king?" 
"^Elle," was the answer. " Alleluiah ! " rejoined Gregory ; " then shall the 
praises of God be sung there." 1 

But Gregory did not rest content with playing upon words. From that 
time he began to work for a mission to Britain. He would have under- 
taken the task in person, but the Romans would not part with him. 
Nothing was done till after his own promotion to the papacy (a.d. 590). 
At last, in 595, he was able to commission a band of monks, headed by 

Augustine, then abbot of St. Andrew's on the Ccelian at Rome. 
St. Augustine. The party madg their way tQ Aix j n p rovence> There they 

were so much alarmed by reports of the barbarism of the Anglo-Saxons 

that Augustine felt obliged to return to Rome to consult Gregory. He 

finally left the Imperial City on the 23rd July, 596, armed with fresh 

exhortations to his followers, and letters of commendation to the Frankish 

kings and the Gaulish prelates. 2 The mission wintered in Gaul, crossing 

over to Britain early in 597. They landed in Thanet, at the 

L Th d anft. in old landing-place, Ebbsfleet, being accompanied by Gallic 

priests and interpreters ; some forty souls in all. 

^Ethelbirht must have been prepared for the coming of the mission, 
which could not have been sprung upon him without previous negotiation. 
But as a prudent ruler of men he was careful not to alarm the suscepti- 
bilities of his subjects. The strangers were directed to remain in Thanet 
for a few days till the king should come. When he came he took his 
seat " on the chalk down above Minster," in the open air, for fear of 
magic. 3 Augustine then came forward with his monks in procession, 
chanting a litany, and carrying a silver cross and a picture of Christ. 

A formal address was delivered to the king and his gesiths^ to explain 
the purposes of the mission. In answer ^Ethelbirht told them that they 
spoke fair, but said that he himself could not lightly depart from the 
customs of his people. At the same time he promised the strangers 
hospitality, and leave to preach to all who wished to hear them. Within 
a few days they were brought to the Royal city of Canterbury (Cant-wara- 
byryg), 5 otherwise the old Roman Dnrover?ium. For public worship 
they were allowed to use an old Roman church, St. Martin's, which had 

1 Bseda, H.E., II. c. I. As /Elle died in 588 the incident must have happened before 
that time and probably after 585, as Gregory was absent from Rome for a considerable 
time before that year. Green, sup., 216. 

2 Bseda, H.E., I. 23, 24 ; Haddan and Stubbs, III. 3-1 1. 
8 " Si quid maleficse artis habuissent." Baeda. 

4 " Comitibus." 5 i.e., The ' burh of the Men of Kent.' " In civitate Doru- 


a.d. 597-601] CONVERSION OF KENT 177 

been fitted up as Bertha's Chapel ; 1 and which may yet be seen — a 
Establish- substantial relic of Roman Christianity in Britain. 2 
mentat The mission throve. On Whitsunday (2nd June) King 
/Ethelbirht submitted himself for baptism. 3 In the autumn 
Augustine thought his position such as to justify his own promotion to the 
Episcopate. He went over to Gaul, and, in November, 4 was consecrated 
1 archbishop of the Angles ' by Vergilius the Bishop of Aries, under a 
commission from Gregory. 5 Returning to England in time for Christ- 
mas, Augustine is said to have baptized ' thousands ' on that day. 6 Two of 
his followers, Lawrence a presbyter, and Peter a monk, were then sent to 
Rome to give an account of their doings, and obtain directions on sun- 
dry points connected with the government of the young Church of Eng- 

Augustine's envoys started from Rome on their return journey, 22nd 

June, 601, bringing with them the archiepiscopal pallium or pall 7 for their 

chief, and a fresh band of helpers to reinforce his staff. Chief 

Relirforced? of these were the A °b ot Mellitus, and the monks Justus, 

Paulinus, and Rufinianus. They also brought careful answers 

to Augustine's questions ; a scheme for the future constitution of the 

English hierarchy ; and an equipment of plate, vestments, books, and 

relics for the use of the churches. 

The scheme for the future church proposed two archbishoprics with 

twelve suffragan bishops uuder each primate ; the northern Province 

Sen f t0 k e established in the city of York, when converted ; the 

Bishoprics, southern Province (after the death of Augustine) to have its 

seat in London. 8 During his life Augustine would remain 

supreme over all spiritual persons within Great Britain. After his death 

the archbishops would be equal in rank, the senior for the time being to 

have precedence. 9 

Meanwhile Augustine, with the help of ^Ethelbirht, had repaired an old 
Roman church which he consecrated to Christ, 10 the starting-point of 
the metropolitan church of England, Christ Church, Canterbury. In a 
letter to ^Ethelbirht Gregory had urged him to destroy all heathen temples, 

1 Baeda, I. 25, 26. 

2 The lower courses of the walls of the nave are still coated with the original Roman 
cement. The church may have been dedicated to St. Martin by Bertha. If originally 
dedicated to him it must have been built after a.d. 400. 3 H. & S., III. 3. 

4 Qy. Sunday, 17th Nov. ? See Stevenson, note to Baeda. 

5 " Licentia data." 

6 So Gregory's letter to the Bishop of Alexandria, H. & S., III. 3» I2 - 

7 For the Pallium— the distinctive badge of an archbishop— a sort of stole marked 
with crosses worn round the neck, with a falling end in front, see engraving of St. 
Dunstan below. 

8 This implies that according to the records at Rome London had been the capital of 
Southern, as York was of Northern Britain. 

9 Baeda, H.E., I. cc. 27-32 ; H. &. S., III. pp. 14-38. 10 Baeda. 
R.H. N 

178 THE BRITISH CHURCH [a.d. 601-603 

on second thoughts he wrote that it would be better to purify them, or 
apply them to Christian purposes. Augustine also laid the foundations 
of a church and monastery to the East of the then city, intended to be 
dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, but which in fact came to be called by 
his own name, St. Augustine's, Canterbury. 1 

Nor did Augustine neglect efforts to obtain recognition of the authority 

over the British bishops with which Gregory had graciously endowed him. 2 

Through the influence of ^Ethelbirht a conference was arranged 

Bishops! on ^ e Dan ^ s of tne Severn, under a spreading oak, 3 known 
afterwards as Augustine's oak, now Aust ; and still "one of the 
chief places for crossing the Severn " ; 4 obviously a convenient place for a 
meeting between Welsh and English. 

Augustine to a certain extent must be given credit for practical ends in 

seeking union with the British Church. He wished to enlist their 

co-operation in the work of converting the Anglo-Saxons ; and to 

facilitate conjoint action he sought to bring their ritual into entire harmony 

with that of Rome. During the 150 years which had elapsed 

of Ritual 8 smce Britain had been cut off from the outer world, the practice 

of the western Church had undergone modification on sundry 

points, and notably as to the manner of reckoning Easter Day. The 

British Churches held to the practice handed down to them from earlier 

times. 5 

The answer of the Welsh to the claim of ecclesiastical supremacy may 
be easily divined. 6 Under like circumstances the pretension would 
certainly be rejected at the present day. Two sittings were held without 
result, although Augustine did, in the spirit of Elijah, offer to contend 
with them by a sign from heaven ; and did, in fact, we are assured, open 
the eyes of a blind man (an Angle) after that the Welshmen had failed to 
do so. On the second day Augustine apparently narrowed his demands 
to three points, as an irreducible minimum : viz., acceptance of the Roman 
practice as to the Easter calculation, and as to the mode of performing 
holy baptism, and co-operation in the work of preaching to the Angles. 
The Britons being utterly obdurate, Augustine shook off the dust from his 
feet against them. ' If ye will not have peace with us as brethren ye shall 
have war with us as enemies ; if ye will not preach the Way of Life to the 
Angles, ye shall suffer at their hands the vengeance of death.' 7 This was, 

1 Baeda, I. 33. 

2 So in answer to Augustine's seventh question, " Brittaniarum omnes episcopos tuse 
fraternitati committimus," H. & S., p. 22. 

3 " Lingua Anglorum Augustinaes Ac, id est robur Augustini." Baeda. 

4 Freeman. 

5 See the whole matter clearly set out, H. & S., I. 152. 

6 For the answer attributed to Dinoth, more correctly Dunawd, Abbot of Bangor 
Iscoed, in Flintshire, see H. & S., I. 122; Rhys, C. B., 124. 

7 Boeda, II. 2 and H. & S., III. 38-40. The conferences must have been held in 

a.d. 603-616] THE CLERGY IN ENGLAND 179 

to say the least of it, an unfortunate utterance, through which Augustine 
was held prophetically responsible for subsequent deeds of blood. " Quod 
ita per omnia ut prcedixerat divino agenie judicio patratum est? 1 

Augustine himself did not long survive the conferences at Aust. But he 
lived long enough to establish two new sees ; the work of conversion 
Mellitus navm S ma de sufficient progress to justify the step. Mellitus 
Bishop of was consecrated Bishop of the East Angles, ruled by Sseberht, 
London. ne ph ew f ^thelbirht, in subordination to his uncle. His see 
was established in London — again spoken of as a great trading-mart 2 — and 
his church was the original St. Paul's, built for him by vEthelbirht. Justus 
was appointed Bishop of Rochester, as spiritual father of West 
Rochester Kent, which may have been administered as an under-kingdom. 
His church was St. Andrew's, Rochester, also built for him, and 
liberally endowed by ^Ethelbirht. Lastly (if not before) Augustine conse- 
crated Laurentius as his successor, and then he passed away, on the 26th 
May, apparently in the same year. 3 He was ultimately buried 
ArchMshop. in tne nortn a ^ s ^ e ( in porticu aquilonali) of his own monas- 
tery at Canterbury, which had not been completed at his 

^thelbirht lived on, the most influential prince south of the Humber, till 
the year 616, when he was gathered to his fathers. His Laws, published 
during the life of Augustine, 5 are a re-enactment of primitive 
JEthelbirnt customs, with such modifications as had been necessitated by the 
' adoption of Christianity. The first clause proclaims the exalted 
position assigned to the clergy. ' Goods (feoh) of God and the churches 
twelvefold; bishops' goods elevenfold; priests' ninefold; deacons' six- 
fold; clerics' threefold.' The restitution to be made for stealing the 
king's goods is only ninefold. 6 All the penalties are pecuniary. Tables of 
fines for injuries to life, limb, and property, varying according to the social 
rank of the persons concerned, fill up nine-tenths of the code. 

At the death of ^thelbirht the ascendancy of Kent came to an end, 
and the Christian mission suffered a distinct check. ^Ethelbirht's son, 
Eadbald, and the sons of Sceberht in Essex, rejected the new creed. 
Mellitus and Justus had to retire for a while to Gaul. Wessex drew the 

602 or 603. The Annates Cambria refer to a synod held by St. David at Caerleon-upon- 
Usk a.d. 601. This may have been held to receive Augustine's overtures. 
1 Baeda, sup. 2 So Baeda. 

3 a.d. 604, Baeda, H. £., II. 3, 4 5 H. & S., III. 4- Baeda gives the day of Augus- 
tine's death, but not the year. Florence of Worcester gives the year as 604. " The 
chronologia in fine W. Thorn (X. Scriptt., 2,230) gives 605 " : so too does Thorn himself, 
a 14th century writer {lb. 1765). The orginal charter of Rochester Cathedral is dated 
28th April, 604. Laurentius is mentioned in it as bishop, but not Augustine (H. & S., 
III. 52). 

4 Baeda, sup. 5 " On Augustinus daege," Schmid, p. 2. 

6 Laws of ' sEthelbirht, I. 4. Baeda refers to these provisions [H. E., II. 5). 

180 PROGRESS [a.d. 586-613 

sword on the one side, while on the other Rsedwald of East Anglia, 
renouncing all allegiance, embarked in a career of ambition on his own 
account. 1 But the centre of political influence and the scene of interest 
had already shifted to the North. 

^Ethelric, sixth son of Ida, had succeeded to the throne of Bernicia 
about the year 586. In 588 yElle, the rival King of Deira, died ; ^Ethelric 

expelled his sons, 2 and thenceforward ruled as King of all 
Northumbria Northumbria. That dominion he bequeathed to his son, the 

ruthless ^Ethelfrith, in the year S93- 3 
Of all Anglic kings, none waged war against the natives with more 
relentless vigour than ^Ethelfrith, surnamed "Flesaur" — the Devastator. 4 

Expulsion, tribute, or the sword, were the only alternatives 

offered. 5 His bitterness for once roused the Celts to a com- 
bined effort. In the year 603 Aidan MacGabran, King of the Dalriad 
Scots, the friend of St. Columba, who had made him king, 6 led a great 
confederacy against the sworn foe of his race. The allies were met by 
^thelfrith at " Degsastan," or "Daegsanstane," identified with Dawston in 
upper Liddesdale, near the head waters of the North Tyne. The locality 
suggests that the confederacy were advancing along a Roman cross-road 
into Northumberland. 7 Their forces would include those of Strathclyde, 
Annandale, the Forest district, and perhaps Galloway. The lead taken by 

Aidan foreshadowed the part to be played in Northern affairs 
^Dawston* ^y n * s successors. The battle was most sanguinary. A 

brother of ^Etfoelfrith and his division were cut off; but the 
Celts in the end were utterly routed, and for more than a century neither 
Pict nor Scot ventured to meddle with English territory. 8 

A few years later we find ^Ethelfrith dealing a blow of equal if not 

greater severity against the Britons south of the Border. The battle was 

And Chester fou § ht at Chester. 9 As the forces advanced to engage ^Ethel- 

' frith noticed a strange band of men drawn up on one side, in 

1 Baeda, H. E., II. 5, 6 ; Chron. A and E ; Flor. Wor. ; W. Malm., G. R., I. 10. 
Laurentius however managed to make terms with Eadbald. 

2 For these see a note Green, sup., 247. 

3 Baeda, //. E., I. 34 ; Chron. A ; Flor. 

4 Nennius, Hist., M. H. B., 74 : " Fleisawr Cambriae vastator vel depopulator " (note 

5 " Nemo . . . plures eorum terras exterminatis vel subjugatis indigenis aut 
tributarias genti Anglorum aut habitabiles fecit " (Baeda, H. E., I. 34). 

6 Adamnan, III. c. 5. 

7 The circular camps and hill-ditch near Dawston, commonly regarded as part of the 
Catrail, may have been connected with this battle. If so the confederates must have 
assumed a defensive attitude on reaching the Border. 

8 Baeda, sup. ; Chron. A and E. 

9 " Ad civitatem Legionum, quae a gente Anglorum Legacaester, a Brittonibus autem 
rectius Carlegion appellatur " (Baeda, H. E., II. 2). The name would do equally for 
Caerleon-upon-Usk, but Chester must have been the place. 

a.d. 613-617] OF CONQUEST 181 

attitude of prayer, with a guard of soldiers to protect them. He was told 
that they were holy men, ' monks ' from the great monastery of Bangor 
Iscoed, who were appealing to their God for the success of their country- 
men. ' Nay,' said ^Ethelfrith, ' but if they offer up prayers against us, 
they fight against us, even though they bear not weapons in their hands ' ; 
and accordingly he ordered the first attack to be made on their position. 
The priests were slaughtered, as if in verification of Augustine's words, and 
^Ethelfrith gained a complete victory, but not without severe loss. 1 The 
monastery of Bangor and the city of Chester were wasted and left desolate ; 
the confederacy of the Kymry was cut in two, "the rudest shock ever 
given their traditions." Wales was for ever severed from Cumbria and 
Galloway. 2 

The one thorn in the side of ^Ethelfrith was the fact that Eadwine, son 

of JEWq of Deira, was still living. For twenty years ^Ethelfrith hunted 

him and his from one hiding-place to another at the courts of 

of^dwine? tne British princes of the West coast. 3 At one of these courts, 

namely that of Cerdic, prince of Elmet cum Loidis, Eadwine's 

nephew, by name Hereric, had been poisoned. 4 At another time he was 

with Cearl, a Mercian prince, whose daughter, Quaenburh, he married. 5 

At last Eadwine took refuge with Raedwald, King of the East Angles, 

a man who, even before the death of ^Ethelbirht, must have attained to a 

considerable position, as at the death of iEthelbirht he became- the leading 

potentate of Southern Britain. 6 

Again at the Court of Raedwald ^Ethelfrith pursued his enemy. He 
plied Raedwald on either hand with promises and threats to induce him 
to surrender Eadwine. At the third embassy Raedwald seemed to give 
way, and promised compliance with ^Ethelfrith's wishes. It was the first 
hour of night, a trusty adherent dragged Eadwine from his chamber, and 
urged him to flee. With noble pride he refused to betray any suspicion 
of his host. Then as if weary of a life of wandering he added, ' If I must 

1 B?eda, ff. £., II. 2 (without date). The Winchester Chron, (A) gives the year as 
607 ; the Peterborough Chron. (E) as 605. The Annates Cambria and Tighemac give 
the year as 613 : the last is perhaps the most likely date. 

2 See Rhys, C. B., 613, 634. It is suggested that Jago, King of Gwynedd, who fell at 
Chester, may have been the Welsh leader. Baeda names one Brochmail, or Brochvael ;. 
but he seems to have been only captain of the priests' guard. See also Ann. Camb. 

3 Baeda, II. 12. At one time Eadwine seems to have been with Cadvan of Gwy- 
nedd, son of Jago, who fell at Chester (Rhys, C. £., 126). 

4 Hereric was the son of an elder brother of Eadwine, whose name has not been pre- 
served, and who died or was killed in exile, but who was old enough to leave Hereric and 
two daughters — Hereswith married to an East Anglian prince, and Hild the foundress 
of Whitby Abbey. Besides Eadwine and his brother ^Elle also left a daughter, Acha, 
who remained in Deira, and became yEthelfrith's wife, " a marriage clearly intended to 
reconcile the Deirans to his rule." (Baeda, II. 14, III. 6, IV. 23; Nennius ; Green, 
sup., 247). 

5 Bseda, H. E., II. 14. 6 Bseda, H. £., II. 5. 

182 CHRISTIANITY [a.d. 617-626 

die I may as well fall by the hand of Raedwald as by that of any meaner 
man.' And so he took his seat on the doorstep to abide his fate. His 
agony of suspense was cut short by the return of his friend, who hastened 
back to tell him that Raedwald's wife had persuaded her lord to face 
^Ethelfrith in the field rather than betray his guest. 

Afterwards it transpired that while Eadwine sat on the gloomy door- 
step a mysterious form had appeared to him, and claimed his allegiance, 
if he should be delivered from his extremity. 

Rsedwald marched boldly against .^Ethelfrith. They met on the borders 

of Mercia and Deira, at Retford in Nottinghamshire, on the 

jEthelfrith. east Dan k of the river Idle. .JEthelfrith was defeated and 

killed, but Raedwald lost his son Rcegenhere in the action. 1 

Eadwine was raised to the throne, not only of Deira, but also of Bernicia. 

During the seventeen years that he ruled he attained to a dominion more 

extensive than that of any previous king. He expelled Cerdic 

King. ' fr° m Elmet and annexed his territory; the Isles of Man 

and Anglesey were for the time brought under his sway. 2 But 

the abiding memorial of his reign was the establishment of the fortress on 

the hill thenceforward known as " Eadwinesburh," in Gaelic " Dunedin," 

in Welsh « Dineiddin," 3 Edinburgh. 

His throne being firmly established and his first wife dead, Eadwine 
began to look about him for another consort. Kentish princesses were 
the fashionable ladies of the time, Kent being doubtless in advance of the 
other kingdoms in civilisation and refinement. Accordingly Eadwine 
applied for the hand of ^Ethelburh, commonly known as "Tata," 
daughter of ^Ethelbirht, and sister of Eadbald the reigning king. Ead- 
Paulinus wme ' s °^ er was accepted on the condition that the lady should 
Bishop of be allowed the free exercise of Christian worship; and 

Paulinus was consecrated bishop to accompany her. 4 
Paulinus laboured diligently to make converts among the Northum- 
brians, but it is clear that he made little progress in his first year, namely 
up to Easter Day (20th April) a.d. 626, when events occurred to give the 
cause a helping hand. On that day a desperate attempt to assassinate the 

1 Bseda, B.E., II. 12; a.d. 617. Chron. E; H. Hunt. The latter gives a transla- 
tion of the refrain of some old ballad " Amnis Idle Anglorum sorduit cruore." 

2 Baeda, II. 9. Nennius, M.H.B., 76. The name Anglesey however must not be 
supposed = " Engla-ig, i.e. " The Isle of the Angles." That would have led to " Ingley " 
or some such word. " Anglesey" is later, perhaps Norse. H. Bradley, in Academy. 

3 So Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 238. " Myned Agned " was another Welsh name. 
" Castrum Puellarum " in Latin writers remained in use to a late date. 

4 Baeda, H.E., II. 9. Paulinus was consecrated by Archbishop Justus 21st July, 
625 ; id. Laurentius, the successor of Augustine, died 2nd February, 619 : he was suc- 
ceeded by Mellitus, the first Bishop of London. Mellitus having died 24th April, 624, 
was succeeded by Justus, originally the first Bishop of Rochester. See Haddan and 
Stubbs, etc. 

a.d. 626-627] IN DEIRA 183 

king in public audience was made by an emissary of Cwichelm, a West 
Saxon king. Eadwine's life was saved by the devotion of his thegn 
{minister) Lilla, who threw himself on the dagger. But so desperate was 
the assassin that he succeeded in killing another man besides wounding 
the king before he was despatched. 1 

That night iEthelburh gave birth to a daughter, who received the 
name of Eanfled. Paulinus was able to represent the queen's safe delivery 
as due to the special prayers he had offered up on her behalf. He was 
also able to make some capital out of the king's escape from the fury of 
the assassin. Eadwine promised to take the question of his own conver- 
sion into consideration, if he should be vouchsafed a safe recovery from 
his wound, and also given a victory over the treacherous West Saxons. 
In the meantime he allowed his infant daughter Eanfled and twelve 
of his household to be baptized. The rite was performed on Whitsun- 
day (8th June), a firstfruits of Northumbrian Christianity. 2 

Eadwine having recovered of his wound, and a suitable chastisement 
having been inflicted on his enemies, Paulinus returned to the charge. 
The king still hesitating, the Bishop, as a last expedient, appealed to the 
vision which had appeared to Eadwine on Raedwald's doorstep, and 
boldly claimed the merit of the fulfilment of the promise then given. 
The story goes on that Eadwine was greatly agitated. But constitutional 
instinct still made him require the formal assent of his council of Witan 
or Wise men {consiliarii sapientes). In the discussion that ensued it is 
curious to note that Coifi the king's high priest was the first to disclaim 
the old gods, and that he asked to be allowed himself to desecrate and 
burn down the great temple at Godmundham. 3 

Finally Eadwine was baptized at York on Easter Day (12 th April), 

627 : 4 among the members of his family mentioned as being also baptized 

were his two sons by his first wife, and his niece Hild, after- 

Eadwine. wards abbess of Whitby. The ceremony was performed in a 
wooden church built for the occasion, and dedicated to St. 

Minster. Peter; but Eadwine lost no time in laying the foundations 
of a stone church to enclose the wooden church, the original 
York Minster. 

Under the fostering care of Eadwine the work of conversion advanced 

1 The incident is stated to have happened at a royal seat on the river Derwent 
(Deruventionem). But there are several rivers of the name. Camden suggested Auldby, 
near Kirkby Underdale, in the East Riding. 2 Baeda, sup. Chron. A and E. 

3 Near Wighton in the East Riding. Baeda, H.E., II. 13. 

4 Nennius, M. H.B., 76, and the Annates Cambrice while recording the baptism of 
Eadwine allege that he was baptized by Rhun, son of Urien. If this means anything, it 
must mean that Rhun at the time was attending Eadwine's court as a vassal prince, and 
acted as his sponsor. 

5 Baeda, H.E., II. 14, 20; IV. 23. Chron. E. For letters from Pope Boniface 
V. to Eadwine and ^Ethelburh, see Baeda, II. 10, 11. 

184 CHRISTIANITY IN [a.d. 627-633 

rapidly ; the royal progresses being made occasions for baptizing on a large 
scale. Thus we hear of Paulinus baptizing numbers in the river Glen at 
Yeavering 1 {Adgefrin) near Wooler ; and in the Swale at Catterick ; and 
again later in the Trent at " Teolfinga ceastra"; we also hear of a 
wooden church at another royal seat " Campodonum," probably 
" Danum" otherwise Doncaster. 2 

From Deira Christianity spread Eastwards and Southwards. Eorpwald, 

son of Rsedwald, the King of the East Angles, at Eadwine's suggestion, 

F lix followed his example (628?). Some three years later his 

Bishop of the brother and successor Sigberct brought from Gaul a Burgun- 

East Angles ^- an j^^op^ Felix Dv name, who was established at Dunwich, 3 

there to labour in peace for seventeen years. 4 

The conversion of our Lincolnshire was undertaken by Paulinus in 
person ; he preached to the Lindissas, and built a stone church at Lincoln ; 
and there, Archbishop Justus having died, he was called upon to con- 
secrate Honorius as his successor. 5 A few years later Palls were con- 
currently sent by Pope Honorius to Paulinus of York, and to Honorius 
of Canterbury. By this recognition the Northern Province was placed on 
a footing of equality with the Southern Province in accordance with 
Gregory's original scheme. 6 

The ability of King Eadwine as a ruler was shown by the ' good peace ' 

(to borrow the language of a later day) that he was able to maintain 

throughout his wide dominions. In his days, it used to be 

of ^Eadwine' sa ^> a woman w i tn a new-born babe could travel safely from 

sea to sea. Brass cups could be attached to posts at drinking 

places by the wayside, and not be stolen. At the same time he cultivated 

a certain pomp till then unknown to English Royalty. Wherever he went 

his Standard was carried before him. If he only walked down the street 

a Roman Tufa or a plume of feathers preceded him. 7 

But Eadwine was doomed to fall before a coalition of the rising power 
of Mercia with the Welsh. 

Penda, grandson of Creoda, had succeeded to the throne of Mercia in 
626, at the ripe age of fifty winters. Two years later we hear of hostilities 
with the King of the West Saxons at Cirencester, ending in a 
oi^Mer^ convention. 8 It is not too much to suppose that the incor- 
poration of the Hwiccas of Gloucestershire and the Mage- 
saetas of Herefordshire with Mercia dates from this treaty. 

1 Local tradition marks the site of a summer residence of Eadwine at this place. 
The Glen is an affluent of the Till. 2 Baeda, II. 14. 

3 This place was on the coast of Suffolk, but has been destroyed by the sea. 

4 Baeda, II. 15. Chron. A and Florence give 632 as the year of Eorpwald 's conver- 
sion, and 636 as that of the establishment of Felix ; but the data supplied by Baeda point 
to the years 628 and 630 or 631. See H. and S., III. 89. 

5 a.d. 628, Baeda, II. 16-18. Justus died 10th Nov., 627, lb., and Chron. E. 

6 a.d. 634, Baeda, II. 17, 18. 7 Bseda, II. 16. 8 Chron. A. 

a.d. 633-634] THE EAS1 AND NORTH 185 

Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd, son of Cadvan above mentioned, had 

been hardly pressed by Eadwine, who took Anglesey from him, and finally 

Cadwallon drove him out of his dominions into Ireland. 1 His restoration 

King of may have been due to the influence of Penda, when he became 

lord of the conterminous districts of Middle Britain. Anyhow 

Cadwallon, though a Christian, joined hands with the heathen Penda 

for an attack on Eadwine. The battle was fought on the 

Eadwine. I2th October, 633, at " Heathfelth," now Hatfield, between 

Doncaster and Thorne. Eadwine fell and his whole army was 

dispersed. 2 

The result need not be taken as indicating the real strength of the con- 
tending forces, but rather as an illustration of the advantages which we 
shall find, all through the course of English domestic warfare, invariably 
attending the assailant, the party who, after preparing in secret, could 
strike as and when it suited him best. 

For the time the House of Eadwine was crushed by the blow. His 
eldest son Osfrith fell in the action ; his second son Eadfrith surrendered 
himself to Penda, who, after a while, found it expedient to make away 
with him. Archbishop Paulinus with Queen ^thelburh and her children 
retired to Kent. For some twelve months Northumberland 
° ad York. n at remamed in the hands of Cadwallon ; not be it noted of 
Penda, whose policy apparently aimed rather at consolidation 
than at extension of territory. Osric, a collateral of the House of JEWe, 3 
attempted to raise his head in Deira, and was killed while besieging 
Cadwallon in York. The Bernicians brought Eanfrith, eldest son of 
^Ethelfrith, from his retirement beyond the Forth, only to meet with the 
same fate. He was killed by Cadwallon ; treacherously killed, it was said, 
while negotiating for a peaceful settlement. 4 

His brother Oswald was then brought forward with better results. 
Sheltered for years at the court of the Dalriad princes Oswald had em- 
braced the principles of Christianity with ardour. His force 

S^S*,'* 8 -^ was small, but animated with his own spirit. Descending the 
of Altheliritn. ' . c . ° 

North Tyne he advanced without opposition to the Roman 

Wall, where he encamped on a height known afterwards as " Hevenfeltb," 
' Heavens Field,' now called St. Oswald's. The enemy were posted to 
the South of Hexham. Rising early on the morrow Oswald ordered a 
wooden cross to be hastily put together. With his own hands he sup- 
ported it while it was being planted in the ground. He offered up a 
short prayer for the success of his cause and then led his men to the 
attack. The battle was fought on " Denises Burn," now the West 

1 See Rhys, C.B., 128, 129. 

2 Baeda, II. 20. Chron. E. The place is called Meicen by Nennius, M.H.B., 75 ; 
and Meiceren by the Annates Cambria. 

3 Son of iElfric, brother to ^Elle. Bseda, III. 1. 4 Bieda, II. 20,* III. 1. 

1 86 MISSIONS FROM [a.d. 634-635 

Dipton Burn, 1 doubtless on one or other of the two roads leading south- 
wards from Hexham, perhaps at West Dipton Mill, but more likely at 
Newbiggin. The road by West Dipton Mill, even at the present day, 
leads to nothing, ending among hills; whereas the Newbiggin road is 
a thoroughfare to the South West, along which a Welsh army might 
naturally advance. Moreover a most eligible site, either for a camp or 
a battlefield, may be seen at Newbiggin, not so at West Dipton Mill. 
Whatever the site, Oswald gained a complete victory, Cad- 

^ efe !' 1 ts wallon falling on the field. If, as we believe, the action took 
Cadwallon, & ' ' 

place at Newbiggin, it was fought in the very next field to the 
Linnels, where eight hundred and thirty years later Henry VI. suffered 
defeat at the hands of Edward IV. 2 

Oswald obtained recognition from Deira as well as Bernicia, the 
Southern Kingdom accepting him as the son of Acha, the sister of 
Eadwine. Under Oswald the two peoples became more 
And Kin° meS umte d than they yet had been. Nor was his sway less ex- 
tensive than that of his predecessor. In fact we are told that 
all the four ' tongues ' — Britons, Picts, Scots, and Angles, acknowledged 
his sway. 3 

On entering on his new duties Oswald's very first step had been to 
apply to the friendly monastery of Hy or Iona for a bishop. Paulinus, 
being bound up with the hostile dynasty, was allowed to 
A of bernicia* remam m Kent. In answer to Oswald's application the monk 
Aidan was consecrated and sent, and established by the 
king in Lindisfarne or the Holy Isle ; his own favourite seat being 
Bamborough. With Aidan began the practical conversion of Bernicia : 
till then, we are told, no place of worship had been consecrated in all 
the kingdom. 4 

While Aidan the Scot was thus attacking Heathenism in the North, a 

fresh Italian mission was entering Wessex under one Birinus, who had 

Birinus a commission from Pope Honorius I. Birinus was established 

Bishop of as Bishop of the Gewissas at Dorchester on the Thames, 

under the combined patronage of Cynegils of Wessex and 

1 " In loco qui lingua Anglorum Denisesburna, id est Rivus Denisi vocatur." 
Basda, III. 1 ; a.d. 634, Chron. E; Adamnan, St. Columba, I. c. 1. A 13th century 
charter cited Greenwell, Tyneside Naturalists' Club, VI. 13 (Lansdowne MS., 402, f. 19), 
clearly identifies Denisesburn with the West Dipton Burn. Nennius, M.H.B., 76, calls 
the battle " Catscaul," qy. ' Battle of the Meadow ' or ' Weir ' ? The Newbiggin Park 
is surrounded by streams. 

2 See Lancaster and York, II. 303. 

3 " Nationes qua in quatuor linguas divisse sunt." Baeda, III. 6. The reader will 
note that the Pictish language is here equally distinguished from Welsh and Gaelic. 

4 a.d. 634. Baeda, III. 2, 3, 26. Aidan must have been consecrated before the 31st 
August, 634, as on the 31st August, 651, when he died, he had completed the 16th and 
begun the 17th year of his episcopate. Id., 17. 

a.d. 634-642] IONA AND ITALY 187 

Oswald (634, 635). Oswald was present when Cynegils was baptized, 
and took him as his godson ; he himself having come to woo the hand of 
a daughter of Cynegils. 1 

Oswald's appearance on the banks of the Thames would imply friendly 
if not submissive relations on the part of Penda. It must have been 
to please Oswald that he made away with Eadwine's son Eadfrith. 
^Ethelburh, afraid for the safety of her children in Kent, sent them over to 
Gaul. 2 The Lindiswaras, much against their will, had to bow to the 
yoke of Oswald. 3 Yet at the last we find Oswald, like Eadwine, suc- 
cumbing to Penda, who defeated him and put him to death at " Maserfelth," 
an uncertain place, but generally identified with Oswestry 4 — 'Oswald's 

Fall of Tree ' — where the body of the fallen king was " dismembered 

Oswald. anc [ set U p » i n tne phrase of later days. 5 The suddenness of 
his fall seems startling : but if we look at the place where he is supposed 
to have met with his end, the locality will suggest that Oswald fell on a 
foray pushed right through Mercia into Wales. 

At Oswald's death his kingdom broke into two. His brother Oswiu, 

as son of ^Ethelfrith, succeeded to Bernicia; but not without opposition 

from his nephews, the sons of Eanfrith and Oswald ; while 

°o!wine nd O swme > son of Osric, who was killed by Cadwallon in 634, 

became king of Deira, as representative of the house of ^Elle. 6 

But the reign of Oswald had left its mark on the religion of Northumbria. 

In 634 both Eanfrith and Osric had apostatized, presumably from motives 

of policy. Now both Oswiu and Oswine adhere firmly to Christianity. 

With a divided Northumbria Penda became the dominant power in 

Britain, though the Christian writers refused to recognise the fact. 7 

Lincolnshire at Oswald's death went back to Penda ; East 

Dominating An § ua na d always been under his influence ; even Oswine 

must have bowed to his supremacy, as we hear that Penda 

could ravage Bernicia, and even lay siege to Bamborough. 8 This could 

not have happened if Oswine had stood in the way. But such sub- 

1 Bseda, III. 7 ; Chron. A ; H. & S., III. 90. 

2 Bseda, II. 20. 3 Id., III. 11. 

4 See Ey ton, Shropshire Antiquities, X. 317. He derives Maser-feld from Maesdyr, 
suggested as the old name for the district of Oswestry (conf. Maesbury). Oswestry is 
called " Croes Oswalt," Oswald's Cross, in Welsh. Stevenson notes a Maserfield in 
Lancashire near Win wick. By Nennius the battle is called bellum Cocboy. M.H.B., 76. 

5 5th August, 642. Baeda, III. 9 ; Chron. A. Oswald's body was buried after 
a time at Bardney in Lincolnshire, and translated later to Gloucester. His head was 
taken to Lindisfarne, eventually laid in the tomb of St. Cuthberht, and found there 
in 1827. J. Raine, Cuthbert (Durham, 1828); Bseda, III. 11, 12. 

6 Baeda, III. 14 ; Chron. A and E. 

7 Bseda, who assigns a temporary supremacy to Rsedwald and ^Ethelberht, and even to 
^Elle of Sussex, gives no such honour to Penda ; yet it would be idle to compare the 
position of either of the three former with that of Penda. 

8 Bseda, III. 16. 

188 FALL OF [a.d. 642-655 

servience to Penda involved the hostility of Oswiu, and, to all appearance, 
the loss even of the confidence of Deira. Oswiu resolved to annex Deira, 
and with that object married Eanfled, the daughter of Eadwine. 1 Having 
thus gained a title to Deira he declared war on his rival. Oswine raised 
an army and marched to Catterick, but there, perhaps conscious of dis- 
affection among his men, he gave way to despair, and disbanded his host, 
placing himself in the hands of an ealdorman whom he thought devoted, 
but who, on the contrary, gave him up to Oswiu, by whom he was at once 
put to death. 2 

The reader will notice that primitive aversion to capital punishment did 
not extend to political offences. 

Bishop Aidan, who was on equally friendly terms with both kings, died 
within twelve days, apparently of a broken heart. 3 

Oswiu now became lord of Deira ; but the extension of territory, for 

the time, brought him little accession of strength ; as we hear that Penda 

to the last of his days could push devastating inroads into 

° S ^5iJf 0le Northumbria; that he could force Oswiu to accept his 

(Oswiu's) nephew, ^Ethelwald, son of Oswald, as under-king in 

the North Riding ; 4 and that he actually had Oswiu's own son Ecgfrith 

as a hostage in his hands. Finally we are told that on the eve of the 

decisive struggle Oswiu made the largest offers for the sake of peace. 

Scorned by Penda Oswiu found comfort in the enthusiasm of his faith. 

He vowed an infant daughter as a virgin to Christ ; he vowed to fourid 

twelve monasteries of ten hides each. 

The unequal forces met in the district of Loidis, on the banks of 

the Winwaed, now the Are. Contingents from Wales, East Anglia, and 

the North Riding swelled the hosts of Penda ; probably, however, a 

source of weakness rather than of strength. Again the Banner of the 

Cross proved triumphant. Penda fell, a man of eighty years : 

Penda* ^is thirty under-kings and ealdormen were scattered or slain, 

and the bulk of his army driven into the river. The stream 

was in high flood, ' so that more men perished by the waters than by the 

sword.' 5 

The result was probably due to the disaffection of Penda's vassal 
allies. Between him and the East Angles there could be little love lost : 

1 Id., 15. 

2 20th August, 651. Baeda, III. 14; Chron. A. ,The event happened at Gilling 
St. Agatha, in the North Riding. A church in honour of Oswine was built there by 
Eanfled. Lewis, Topog. Diet. 3 Bseda, III. 14, 17. 

4 We find /Ethelwald giving lands for a monastery at Lastingham, near Whitby. 

5 Baeda, III. 17, 24. He gives the date as the 15th Nov. (xvii. Kal. Dec.) in 
the 13th year of Oswiu. If Oswiu's reign was reckoned from the death of Oswald 
(5th August, 642), the year would be 654, as given by Chron. E. If Oswiu did not 
begin to reign till 643 the year would be 655, as given by Chron. A. Nennius calls the 
place " Campus Gai." 

a.d. 651-657] HEATHENISM 189 

Baeda tells us that Ealdorman ^Ethelwald (of the North Riding) took 
no part in the action ; while Nennius informs us that Cadwaladr of 
Gwynnedd, who led the Welsh men, gained the surname of ' Battle- 
Shunner ' from his conduct on this occasion. * 

For three years Oswiu remained master of Mercia, conceding a sub- 
ordinate kingdom over the Middle Angles and Southern Angles, or 
Mercians South of the Trent, to his son-in-law and convert Peada, son 
of Penda. But the Mercians could not be kept under Northumbrian 

Wulfhere ascen dancy. About the year 657 Peada was assassinated : 

King of his brother Wulfhere was made king; and Mercia again 
became an independent and influential state. 2 

Penda in his time was considered the pillar of Heathendom : but 
it must be admitted that his heathenism was of a tolerant sort. He fought 
for political ascendancy, not for creeds. ' What he hated,' he used to 
say, ' was a man who did not act up to his principles ' ; or, to use his own 
words more nearly, ' men who did not obey the gods they worshipped.' 3 
Twice he overran East Anglia and slew its king. 4 But the work of Bishop 
Felix and his successors was never interfered with. So when Penda 
expelled Cenwalh from Wessex in 643, Birinus remained at Dorchester in 
peace. When his son Peada married the daughter of Oswiu and became 
a Christian, he allowed him to introduce a mission, not only among the 
Middle Angles then ruled by him, but also among the Mercians proper 
governed by Penda himself. 5 

The victory of Oswiu over Penda failed to secure the 

Establish- ascen( j anC y f Northumbria over Mercia, as we have seen. 

Christianity But it sealed the downfall of Paganism. Christianity became 

t SS£S! lt the State reli g ion of En g land at lar § e > the worship of Woden 
only holding its ground among the benighted South Saxons, 
behind the thickets of the Forest of Andered. 6 

The rule of Oswiu from first to last was identified with missionary 
work ; and to this doubtless he owed his triumph over Penda. Bishop 
Aidan having died in 651, as already mentioned, he appointed Finan, 
another monk from Iona, as his successor. 7 Through his influence the 
East Saxons, who had remained without a Bishop since the expulsion 

1 M.H.B., J6 ; Rhys' C.B., 131. It is suggested that having previously been known 
as " Cadavael," ' Battle-seizer,' he now received the extra name of " Cadommedd," the 
two making ' Battle seizer who Battle shuns.' Rhys. 

2 Baeda, III. 24 ; Chron. A. 

3 " Dicens contemnendos esse eos . . . qui Deo suo in quern crederent obedire 
contemnerent. " Baeda, III. 21. 

4 He killed Ecgrice and his brother the ex-king Sigberht about the year 635 ; and 
again about the year 653 or 654 he put to death Anna, who had been allowed to succeed 
Ecgrice. Baeda, III. 18 ; a.d. 654 Chron. A ; A.d. 653 Chron. E. 

5 a.d. 653. Baeda, III. 21 ; Chron. A. 

6 Green, Making of England, 310. 7 Baeda, III. 17. 

190 THE EASTER [a.d. 654-664 

of Mellitus, were induced to accept Cedda, an Angle, as the second 
Diuma Bisno P of London ; x and when Penda fell, Oswiu sent Diuma, 
Bishop of another Scot, to be the first Bishop of 'the Middle Angles 
Lichfield. and Merc i ans> > 2 w j th h i s seat at Lichfield. 

To Oswiu must also be given the credit of having settled the Easter 
question, and settled it at the expense of the traditions in which he had 
been brought up. According to Bseda, public opinion inclined to the 
adoption of the Roman practice ; but respect for the personal characters 
of Aidan and Finan had allowed the question to remain an open one. 
Till it was settled all union between the churches of the different kingdoms 
was impossible ; and even within the limits of an individual kingdom the 
interests of the Church could not but suffer when men saw the king and 
his wife holding their Easter Feasts on different days. Finan having died 
in 661, was succeeded by Colman, another Scot, under whom the conten- 
tion entered on a new stage. A great champion of the Roman cause had 
arisen in the person of the distinguished Wilfrith, chaplain to 
the king's younger son Alchfrith, 3 and Abbot of Ripon. 

Born about the year 634, Wilfrith, at the age of fourteen, had been intro- 
duced to Eanfled wife of Oswiu, by whom he was sent to school at Lindis- 
farne. Fired with the ambition of going on pilgrimage to Rome 
J °Rome! t0 he was sent b y Eanfl ed to her relative Erconberht of Kent, 
who again placed him under the charge of Biscop Baducing, 
(i.e., son of Baduca), better known as Benedict Biscop, who was going to 
Rome. Wilfrith travelled with Biscop as far as Lyons, but parted from 
him there, remaining with Annemundus the Archbishop and his brother, 
" Dalfinus " 4 Count of Lyons. Dalfinus wished to marry Wilfrith to his 
daughter ; but Wilfrith declined the offer, and went on to Rome, where he 
was fully instructed in the Easter question. Returning to Lyons he stayed 
three years with the Archbishop, from whom he received the Roman 
tonsure (655-658). Returning to Northumbria he was taken up by 
Alchfrith, who established him at Ripon ; Abbot Eata of Melrose and 
a band of Scottish monks being turned out to make place for him (66 1). 5 

Agilbert, late Bishop of Dorchester, 6 having come to Northumbria on 

1 He was consecrated by Finan in 654; Id., 22; Stubbs' Reg. Sacrum. Cedda, 
brother of Ceadda (St. Chad), had already been on a mission to the Middle Angles. 

2 Breda, III. 21. Stubbs, sup. 

3 Alchfrith must have ruled a province under his father, as Baeda styles him " rex." 
So too yEdde, Vita Wilfredi. 

4 One is inclined to ask if " Dalfinus" may not really have been the man's title as 
" Dauphin " de Vienne, he being also Count of Lyons. This might be the earliest 
notice of a Dauphin. 

5 See his life by /Edde or Eddi, Raine, Historians of Chtirch of York, vol. I. cc. 1-8 
(Rolls Series). Breda, V. 19, /Edde joined Wilfrith as choir-master in 669, and appa- 
rently remained with him most of his life after that. 

6 Agilbert, appointed Bishop of Dorchester about 650, in succession to Birinus, retired 

a.d. 664-665] QUESTION 191 

a visit to Alchfrith was introduced to Wilfrith, who took advantage of the 
opportunity for effecting a settlement of the Easter question. For this 
purpose a conference was held in the newly founded convent of " Streones- 
halch," now Whitby. ' Both kings ' (Oswiu and Alchfrith) were present. 
Bishop Agilbert and Wilfrith appeared for the Roman cause, with the 
support of one James, formerly deacon under Paulinus, who had remained 
ever since in charge of church interests in Deira. Bishop Colman and 
his clergy defended the Scottish use, with the support of Bishop Cedda of 
London, who had been ordained by the Scots, and the Lady Hild, great- 
granddaughter of yElle and Abbess of Streoneshalch. 

Colman relied on the practice of his spiritual ancestors and the 
authority of St. John. Wilfrith appealed to the practice of the whole 
world as against that of ' the Picts, the Britons, and the dwellers in two 
remote islands of the western sea.' 1 St. John, he urged, had only followed 
the Quarto-deciman 2 rule to indulge the Jews ; his practice had been 
deliberately overruled by St. Peter at Rome. After sundry rejoinders 
Wilfrith finally declared that the authority of St. Peter must be conclusive, 
as he, and he alone, had the Keys of Heaven. At this Oswiu enquired 
eagerly whether such authority had really been given to Peter and to him 
alone. Colman admitted that it was so. ' Then,' said the King, ' I tell 
you that I will not go against my doorkeeper, lest when I come to the 
gates of Heaven there be no one to open unto me.' 3 

The Roman rule for Easter was now formally accepted for Northumbria ; 

Cedda gave in his adhesion on behalf of the East Saxons, but Colman 

refused to be convinced. He resigned his See and went 

Easter home. Tuda, a Scot who followed the Roman use, was 

Adopted. a pp i nte( i [ n his stead. 4 Tuda however died within the year 
of a pestilence which was then devastating Europe ; whereupon Wilfrith, 
at the instance of Alchfrith, was named for the See of York. Objecting 

from Wessex about 662, in consequence of an attempt made to divide his See, and 
went back to Gaul, where he became Bishop of Paris. B;eda, III. 7. Reg. Sacrum. 

1 " De duabus ultimis oceani insulis." The Irish, or at any rate the Southern Irish 
(gentes Scottorum ... in australibus Hibernae insulse partibus) had conformed 
640-642 at the instance of Pope John IV. Birda, II. 19, HI- 3 ; H. & S., III. 82. 
As for the British Easter they simply followed the old Roman rule, counting as Easter 
Day the Sunday after the equinox that fell between the fourteenth and the twentieth 
days of the moon, as calculated by the cycle that had been in use at Rome down to 458, 
Easter Day at Rome since being counted as between the fifteenth and the twenty-first 
days of the moon, and that calculated by a different cycle : H. & S., I. 152, q.v., as to 
tonsure and other points of difference. For the Pascal cycles see Bond's Handy Book 
for Verifying Dates. 

2 So called because, following the Jewish rule for the Passover, they took as Easter 
Day the 14th of the moon on whatever day of the week it fell. 

3 a.d. 664. Bteda, III. 25, 26. iEdde, Vita Wilfridi, cc. 9, 10. 

4 Ba?da, III. 26. Tuda had been ordained by the Southern Irish — " Scottos 
austrinos " — who conformed to Rome. 

i 9 2 THEODORE OF 1ARSUS [a.d. 665-669 

to the English bishops, as being all more or less tainted by intercourse 

with Quarto-deciman schismatics, Wilfrith went over to Gaul, 

The See of an( j was consecrated by his friend Agilbert, at Compiegne, 

in the year 665. 1 Meanwhile however Oswiu, who, perhaps, 

was not quite so partial to Wilfrith as his son was, and who certainly was 

more under the influence of the Scots, 2 had appointed Ceadda 
St. onaa. ^ Cha ^ tQ be Bishop of y Qrk He W£nt tQ Canterbury t0 

seek for consecration at the hands of Archbishop Deusdedit, 3 but found 
that Deusdedit was dead. 4 The archbishop also had probably been 
carried off by the plague. Eventually Ceadda was consecrated by Bishop 
Wine of Dorchester and two Welsh bishops, about the year 665, and was 
duly installed at York, Wilfrith being still absent. 

For the appointment to be made to the See of Canterbury, Oswiu took 

counsel with Ecgberht, King of Kent, and they agreed in making choice 

of one Wighard, an English priest, whom they sent to Rome 

tfTarsus ( A ' D ' 66 ^' But Wi § hard also fel1 a victim to the pestilence; 
and the Pope, Vitalian, treating the presentation as having 
lapsed, nominated and consecrated Theodore of Tarsus, a Greek monk. 5 

" A philosopher and divine of Eastern training," the new archbishop, 
to qualify himself for his mission, had submitted to the Roman tonsure. 6 
Having entered Canterbury on the 27th May, 669, he undertook at once 
a visitation of all England to fill up the vacancies caused by the plague, 7 to 
establish the Roman rule, and generally to reorganize the churches. The 
first question that confronted him was that of the right to the See of 
York. Ceadda was in possession, but Wilfrith had been appointed first. 
St. Chad Theodore however had no difficulty in deciding, as in his eyes 
Translated. Ceadda's ordination was vitiated by the concurrence of schis- 

1 Bseda, III. 28; ^dde, Vita Wilfr., cc. II, 12. H. & S., III. 106-108. 

2 /Edde represents both kings as concurring in the choice of Wilfrith ; Baeda puts it 
as the sole doing of Alchfrith. But ^Edde adds that the counter appointment of Ceadda 
was made under the influence of the Scottish party, c. 14. 

3 Archbishop Honorius died 30th September, 653. Deusdedit, the first Saxon 
archbishop, whose original name is said to have been Frithonas, was consecrated as his 
successor 26th March, 655. See Haddan & Stubbs, III. 82, 99. 

4 Baeda, IV. 1 gives the date of the death of Deusdedit as 14th July, 665 {prid. Id. 
Jul.). On the other hand the duration of the primacy of Deusdedit is given as nine 
years, seven (or four) months, and two days (Bseda, III. 20). This would imply that he 
died either 28th July or 28th October. H. & S., III. 99. 

5 26th March, 668. Baeda, III. 29, IV. 1 ; Chron. E. Flor. Wore. 

6 Stubbs, Const. Hist., I. 218. 

7 Bishop Cedda of London had died of the plague soon after the conference at 
Whitby ; so had Ithamar of Rochester. Wine, originally established at Winchester, 
having quarrelled with Cenwalh, left Winchester and went to Dorchester in 663, and to 
London in 666. Boniface of Dunwich died about 669. Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Thus there 
were at least three or four sees vacant. Wine had been appointed to Winchester in 662, 
Reg. Sacrum ; Baeda. 

,D. 669-673] WILFRITH OF YORK 193 

matic Welsh bishops. St. Chad bowed meekly to his word. ' I never 
thought myself worthy of the office,' said he ; ' all unworthy, at the bid- 
ding of others, undertook I it' * 

Theodore was so touched with his humility that he reconsecrated him, 
and sent him to fill the vacant bishopric of Mercia, with his see at 

In this matter again it must be said for Oswiu that not every king 
would have allowed the man of his own choice to be set aside for the 

Wilfrith sa k" e °^ cnurcn un ity. Wilfrith became bishop of York — not 

Bishop of archbishop, as Theodore contemplated the subjection of all 
England to one Primate ; but the see of York extended to 
the borders of the distant Picts. 2 

Within the course of the years 669 and 670 bishops were consecrated 

by Theodore for the vacant sees of Rochester, Dunwich, and Wessex ; 3 

and in 673 the unity of the English church was proclaimed 

Hertford t0 a11 b y the holdin g of a Synod at Hertford . (Herutforda), 
"the first council properly so called of the English church." 
Of the six suffragan bishops five attended, 4 either in person or by deputy. 
The Canons passed dealt mainly with questions of church government. 
Bishops were forbidden to interfere in the sees (parochiam) of their 
episcopal brethren ; secular clergy were forbidden to leave their own 
bishops, monks to leave their monasteries ; while monasteries were 
declared wholly exempt from episcopal jurisdiction. Bishops and clergy 
on journeys were required to be content with such hospitality as might 
be offered to them. Lastly to ensure " permanent co-operation " in the 
future it was resolved that a Synod should be holden annually on the 
1st August in a place called " Clofeshoch." 5 

Theodore would have liked a resolution for the subdivision of Sees, but 

the Bishops were not disposed to move in the matter, and no resolution 

D . y . . _ was passed. 6 But Theodore was determined not to let the 

the East- matter drop, being sensible of the urgency of the case. He 
Anglian See. t0Q ^ ^ matter [ nt0 his own hands, and, by way of a begin- 
ning, deposed Bisi the East-Anglian Bishop, on the ground of infirmity, 
and consecrated two Bishops in his place, one for Elmham and one for 
Dunwich. 7 

1 " Neque me unquam hoc esse clignum arbitrabar, sed obediential causa jussus," etc. 

2 Baeda, IV. 1-3. Like other prelates of the Columban school, Ceadda performed his 
rounds on foot ; Theodore urged him to ride ; he refused, till the archbishop took him 
by force and seated him on a horse. lb. 

3 See Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. H. & S., III. 118. 

4 Wine, then of London, accused of simony, was the absentee. 

5 The place has not been identified, but must have been in or near Mercia. H. & S., 
III. 122. On the Thames we have Clifton- Hampden, Cleeve, and Clieveden. 

6 24th Sept., 673. Bseda, IV. 5 ; H. & S., III. 1 18-122. 

7 Ba;da, lb. Flor. Worcest. Reg. Sacr. 

R. H. O 

i 94 IRISH AGENCY [a.d. 673 

When the church of Rome received, through Theodore, its nominee, the 
allegiance of the English churches it certainly reaped the fruits of much 
that it had not sown. The mission of Augustine had proved "a compara- 
tive failure." East Anglia had been converted by a Burgundian ; Wessex 
by a Lombard. But the real life and energy of the new Christianity were 
concentrated in the North, and the North looked for its religious centre, 
not to Rome, but to Ireland. 1 

For the work of primary conversion the Irish were specially fitted by 
their poetic fervour, their command of language, and, it must be added, 
their unlimited faith in signs and wonders. But all powerful to stir 
up emotion, they were helpless to mould things into " ordered form." 
Disciplined organization was a thing they could neither understand nor 
tolerate. The ultimate predominance of their ideas would have led to 
mere Congregationalism and confusion. 3 

In connexion with this we may notice the resolute abstention of th-j 
Welsh from any participation in the work of converting the hated Saxon. 

1 Green, Making of England, 312, and the passage from Boeda there cited. 

2 See Id., 317. 


A.D. 643-757 

Affairs of Wessex, Mercia, and Northumbria — Cenwahl — Wolfhere — Ecgfrith — Eald- 
frith — Wilfrith Bishop of York— Ceadwalla— Ine— Eadberht— ^Ethelbald— Saints 
of the Seventh Century 

IN 670 Oswiu had been gathered to his fathers, the first English king 
to be canonised — " Saint Oswiu." His dominion must have been as 
extensive as that of either Oswald or Eadwine, because we hear that even 
some of the Picts recognised his sway. 1 His son Ecgfrith succeeded 
Cenwahl of Wessex died in 672. Wessex as yet gave no promise of 
the position to which it was destined to attain. If we go back 
w^ssex° f t0 Cenwahl's accession (643) we find that he clearly had 
Cenwahl t0 snare tne kingdom with a relative, Cuthred son of Cwich- 
elm. 2 His first act as king was to renounce Christianity, and 
discard the sister of Penda for another wife. He was promptly punished 
by expulsion from his dominions. 5 He took refuge with Anna of East 
Anglia, who brought him back to the pale of the church. Having been 
recalled to Wessex in 648 he founded St. Peter's Minster at Winchester, 
but was unable to withdraw the episcopal seat from Dorchester. In 661 
his dominions were overrun by Wolfhere, who sought to break them up 
by handing over the Jutish population, i.e. the Isle of Wight and the 
Meonwaras, to the King of Sussex. 5 Next year Cenwahl made another 
effort to sever the -connexion with Dorchester and Mercia by establishing 
Wine as Bishop of Winchester. But the Bishop and he soon quarrelled. 
Wine deserted to Wolfhere, and obtained from him first the see of Dor- 
chester (663), and later that of London (666). But money was said to 
have passed between him and the king. 6 Again a few years later Cenwahl 
made a fresh effort to get a bishop of his own. He applied to Agilbert 
at Paris, who sent his nephew Hlothere. Theodore consecrated him, 
but the influence of Wolfhere still kept the see at Dorchester. 7 
Winchester. Not tiU the y ear 676 did the continuous series of Winchester 
Bishops begin with the appointment of Hedde. 8 

1 Breda, II. 5, III. 24, IV. 3. 2 Chron. A, a.d. 648, 661. 

3 Breda, III. 7. Chron. A, 645. 

4 Chron. F (ed. Thorpe) ; Flor. W. ; H. & S., III. 106. 

5 Chron. A. Breda, IV. 276. 6 Breda, III. 7. 

7 a.d. 670. Breda, sup. Chron. A. Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. 

8 Chron. A; Reg. Sacr. But see H. & S., III. 127: "The point of time at which 


196 WILFRITH IN TROUBLE [a.d. 652-679 

Cenwahl on the other hand had been able to extend his borders at the 
expense of the Britons. In 652 he gained a victory over them at Brad- 
ford-on-Avon (Wilts), expelling them from the Frome valley ; and again 
in 658 he defeated them at " Peonnum " ; perhaps Pen Selwood near 
Castle Cary, perhaps one of the Mendip hills. The Britons were driven 
across the Parret, and this became the West border of Wessex. 1 

Wolfhere of Mercia died in 675 ; his hand had been heavy on the 
kings of Wessex; but in his last days (after 670) Lindsey had been 
wrested from him by Ecgfrith of Northumbria ; in other respects however 

he seems to have handed down a well-to-do kingdom to his 
Mercia. brother and successor yEthelred. Surrey (Sudergeona) must 

have formed part of his dominions, as Chertsey Abbey is said 
to have been founded by Earconwald, or Erkenwald, afterwards Bishop 
of London, 2 under the protection of Frithewald, a Mercian ealdorman. 3 
It must have been through Surrey that ^Ethelred in 676 invaded Kent, 
and sacked Rochester. 4 In 679 again he defeated Ecgfrith on the Trent 
and recovered Lindsey. 5 

But Church history must still engross the bulk of our attention. In the 
course of some ten years of episcopate Wilfrith, partly through his own 

character and ability, partly through the liberality of patrons, 

had attained to a very commanding position in Northumbria. 
We are told that Ecgfrith and the Bishop kept on good terms so long 
as ^Ethelthryth, the sainted Queen, remained with her husband ; but that 
when she finally left Ecgfrith for the cloister, and a new Royal consort, 
Irmenburh, was set up, she instilled into her lord a jealousy of the popu- 
lar and influential Bishop. 6 Anyhow the king resolved to curtail Wilfrith's 

See. Wilfrith not being disposed to submit, Theodore was 
Dri York r ° m ^vited to York ; and, Wilfrith being still impracticable, a 

council of some sort was held, in which he was utterly deposed, 
and his See broken up and given away. Eata was consecrated Bishop of 
Lindisfarne or Hexham for Bernicia, while Bosa was consecrated Bishop 
of York for Deira. Lindsey, which being then under Northumbrian rule, 
might be considered part of Wilfrith's See, was made into a third diocese 
under one Eadhaed. 7 

Wilfrith at once appealed to Rome and left the country. Sailing from 
the East coast, he was driven among the Frisians, where he spent the 

Dorchester ceased to belong to Wessex, and Winchester became the only seat of the 
Wessex bishop is uncertain." 

1 Chron. A, and Earle's notes. 2 Bseda, IV. 6. 

3 So the Life in Smith's Christian Biogr. 

4 Boeda, IV. 6 ; Chron. A. 

Chron. A and E. Peace was negotiated by Theodore, Ecgfrith receiving the 
Wergyld for his brother ^lfwine killed in the action. Bada, IV. 21. 

So ^Edde, by far the best authority on this point. 

7 A.D. 678. /F.e\c]f.. Vifn Wilf nn rr> <,, . "RWI-, 

678. /Edde, Vita Wit/., cc. 19, 24 ; B^da, IV. 12 ; H. and S., III. 125. 

a.d. 678-681] CHURCH EXTENSION 197 

winter, preaching to the people and laying the foundations for a mission 
to be afterwards carried on by his pupil Willibrord. 1 Resuming his 

journey in the spring (679), he made his way to Italy, via 
A PP>me t0 Gaul, and laid his case before Pope Agatho. He asked that 

he might be fully reinstated, as having been deposed without 
just cause of any sort ; and that the intruding 2 Bishops should be turned 
out. He was willing however that his See should be divided, if thought 
proper; only he prayed that fresh Bishops, with whom he could act in 
harmony, might be appointed. Agatho accepted this alternative, and a 
decree to that effect was promulgated in a council held at Rome in the 
Basilica of Constantine. Theodore was ordered to reinstate Wilfrith and 
to consecrate new suffragan Bishops, 3 to be chosen by Wilfrith with the 
concurrence of an Anglican council. 4 

Wilfrith remained some time in Rome, probably to allow of negotiations 
with Theodore. These having failed, he made his way back to North- 
umbria armed with his Papal decree. Ecgfrith treated him and his decree 

with equal contempt. The Northumbrian Witenagemot voted 
prisoned ^ e decree spurious ; and the king put Wilfrith into prison 

where he remained nine months. 5 

Meanwhile Theodore was steadily carrying out his scheme of church 

extension. About the year 679 he subdivided the Mercian See at the 

request of King ^Ethelred and his vassal the under-king of the Hwiccas. 

N Bosel became Bishop of the Hwiccas, with his See at Worcester; 

Cuthwin became Bishop of the Middle Angles, with his See at 
Leicester ; Saxwulf, the existing Bishop, being allowed to remain at Lich- 
field, with his See cut down to Mercia proper. Lindsey remained an 
independent Diocese, but as the country had been recovered by ^Ethelred, 
a new Bishop, ^thelwin, was ordained, with his See at Sidnacester. 13 In 
680 Theodore held the second of his " great historical synods " at Hat- 
field, to declare the orthodoxy of the English church, and its acceptance 
of the recognised General Councils. 7 In 681, again, he subdivided the 
Bernician See, establishing Tunberct as Bishop of Hexham, and Trum- 
wine as Bishop of the Picts, with his See at Abercorn. 8 

1 " In Freis pervenit." ^Edde, cc. 25, 26. 2 " Invasores." 

3 " Adjutores episcopos." 4 /Edde, cc. 27-32 : he was doubtless present. 

5 680-681? Id., 33-39. Wilfrith was imprisoned first in " urbs Bromnis," after- 
wards in "Dynbaer," Dunbar. 

6 See Flor. W., Append. M. H. B., 622, comparing H. and S., III. 128, and the 
Reg. Sacr. Florence represents Dorchester as having been a fifth See, now carved 
out of Mercia, evidently on the authority of Basda, who names one ^Etla as having been 
Bishop of Dorcester (IV. 23). ^tla is not named elsewhere, so that the arrangement 
must at any rate have been a short-lived one. In the Rcgistrum Sacrum the appoint- 
ments are placed in the year 680. 

7 17th Sept., 680. BL-eda, IV. 17, 18 ; H. & S., III. 141, The council was held in 
view of "the CEcumenical Council (6th) of Constantinople held the same year." 

8 Boeda, IV. 12, 26 ; H. & S., III. 165. As Abercorn is in West Lothian or Linlith- 

I9 8 KING ECGFRITH [a.d. 681-684 

Wilfrith was eventually released from bonds at the intercession of the 

king's aunr/^bbe (St. Ebb), Abbess of Coldingham. 1 He retired first 

to Mercia, then to Wessex, and finally to the remote corners 

Wilfrith in f Sussex. There at last he found a refuge, and scope for the 

exercise of his active charity behind the thickets of the Ande- 

red's Weald. The Sussex king (^Ethelwald) had embraced Christianity some 

years before ; but the bulk of the population were still heathen, and so 

ignorant of the simplest arts of life as to be unable to catch sea fish, and 

that at a time when a lengthy drought had reduced them to the brink of 

starvation. The king gave Wilfrith a residence at Selsey, where Wilfrith 

founded a monastery, which received an endowment said to amount to 

eighty-seven hides, 2 the germ of a future Bishopric. Wilfrith remained 

some five years on the South coast, in fact till after the death of Ecgfrith, 

instructing and civilising the people. 3 

Ecgfrith's reign had opened with successes, and might have ended in 
glory, had he been content to act with common prudence. His inherit- 
ance must have included our North Lancashire and the Lake 
Northumbria district, nat i y e rule having been crushed in those parts. 4 In 
one of his first years 5 the subject Picts, by whom we must 
understand Picts South of the Forth, with the help of friends from the 
North, attempted to throw off his yoke ; but were promptly quelled by an 
army under Beornheth, the under-king or Ealdorman of Lothian. 6 The 
Picts can have given no further trouble, as we have seen that a bishop was 
established among them at Abercorn in 681. 

Ecgfrith then conquered Lindsey (670-675), but this acquisition was 
lost, as already stated, in 679, when we hear of a battle on the Trent, in 
which he lost a brother. 7 In 684 he broke into furious war against the 
Celts. It would seem that he sent an expedition under the Ealdorman 
Berht or Berhtred into Ireland, where they landed on the East coast, de- 
stroying even monasteries and churches without mercy. 8 

gowshire we see that the Northern Picts extended south of the Forth. The datum here 
supplied may be connected with that supplied by the name "Pentlands," i.e. Pecht- 
lands, or Pictlands. 

1 She was daughter of ^Ethelfrith and sister of Oswald and Oswiu. 

2 "Mansiones," "familise." 3 ^dde, 39-41 ; Baeda, IV. 13. 

4 Ecgfrith gave Cartmel in Lancashire to St. Cuthberht, " et omnes Britannos cum 
eo." Sym. Durh., Hist. Cuthb., I. 141 (Surtees Soc), cited Raine, ALdde, c. 17. 
Cuthberht, of whom anon, used to visit Carlisle in his rounds ; and we hear of a friend 
of his, an English priest, Hereberht, living in an islet in Derwentwater. Bieda, IV. 29. 

5 "In primis annis ejus, tenero adhuc regno." ^Edde. 

6 ^Edde, Vita Wulf., c. 19. Mr. Skene would connect with this war the expulsion 
of the Pictish King Drost, and the burning of " Bennchair Britonum," recorded by 
Tighernac A.D. 672. 7 Chron. A and E. 

8 "Misso Hiberniam exercitu . . . insulani," etc., Boeda, IV. 26 ; " On Scottas," 
Chron. E ; "Saxones Campum Breg vastant " ; Ann. Ulster. , A.D. 685, i.e., Magh-Breg, 
or the plain between the Liffey and the Boyne ; Joyce, Irish Names, 423 ; Skene, Celtic 

a.d. 686-690] AND THE PICTS 199 

Next year (686), against the advice of his best friends, including St. 

Cuthberht, who had just been ordained Bishop of Lindisfarne, he led an 

army against the Northern Picts \ he was drawn onward as far as " Dun 

Nechtain," Dunnichen in Forfarshire, by his opponent Brude or Bruide, 

son of Bile, King of Fortrenn, i.e. Strathearn. On Saturday, 

xilS X" ctll. . 

20th May, Ecgfrith was defeated and killed, the flower of his 
army falling with him. 1 

This reverse was a great blow to Northumbria. Picts and Britons, pre- 
viously subject for a time, threw off their allegiance, and became inde- 
pendent. Bishop Trumwin was chased from Abercorn. The vacant 
throne was filled by the election, as we may suppose, of the late king's 

natural brother Ealdfrith, a man of studious habits, well versed 
Ealdfrith. , _, . _ , ' , „ \ 

in the Scriptures/ and perhaps better fitted to rule a convent 

than a kingdom. 

The death of Ecgfrith cleared the way for the restoration of Wilfrith. 
Theodore held out the hand of reconciliation to his Episcopal brother. 
They had an interview in London, in the presence of Bishop Erkenwald, 
and Theodore undertook to intercede with Ealdfrith on behalf of Wilfrith. 
But the latter had to concede the whole point at issue between himself and 
the Archbishop, undertaking to accept the See of York as limited by 
Theodore. Accordingly in the course of the year 686 Wilfrith 
Reinstated was reinstat ed at York, Bosa being turned out ; but Hexham, 
Lindisfarne, and Lindsey remained separate Sees, to say no- 
thing of the lost Pictish territory in the North. 3 

Theodore lived to establish one more See by consecrating Tyrhtel to 
be Bishop of Hereford, for the Magessetas, in the year 688 ; — 
Se6 ford ere " if in fact the Bish 0P ric had not been established before. 4 The 
establishment of this Diocese, by the way, proves that the 
Mercian conquests had already crossed the line of the Severn. Next year 
the Archbishop passed away, at the great age of eighty-eight (19th Sep- 
tember, 690). 5 

Founded by aliens, and organized by an alien, the English Church was 

Scotland, I. '265. Berhtred was apparently the son of Beornheth. Id., 261. It is 
suggested that Ecgfrith attacked the Irish for having harboured his brother Ealdfrith, 
who in fact succeeded him. Stevenson, notes ad Bsedam, sup. 

1 Bseda, sup. Tighern., a.d. 686, where however he gives the day of the week 
correctly for 685, not for 686. Symeon in his Hist, of Durham calls the place " Nech- 
thanesmere. A drained lake can still be traced at Dunnichen. Skene, sup. 

2 Bseda, sup., and Vita Cut/16., c. 24, cited Stevenson. 

3 ./Edde, 43, 44. c> Secundo anno Aldfridi," Bseda, V. 19; H. and S., III. 169-171. 
Wilfrith was allowed to hold the See of Hexham vacant by the death of Eata, but only 
till the appointment of John of Beverley in 687. The monastery of Ripon and its 
revenues were also restored to him. 

4 Reg. Sacr. It may be that Putta, Bishop of Rochester, who left Kent when it 
was ravaged by iEthelbert in 676, became acting bishop in Herefordshire under Sexwulf. 
Bseda, IV. 12. See H. and S., III. 128-130. 5 Bseda, V. 8. 

200 PRIMACY OF THEODORE [a.d. 690-693 

now a national institution. Theodore had induced the petty States, jealous 
as they were of each other in all other matters, to act together for Church 
purposes. The ecclesiastical unity thus introduced pointed the way for 
that civil unity that was not destined to be fully realized for three centuries 
to come. This united Church Theodore left as well organized and en- 
dowed as any other church of the West. 1 The seven bishoprics that he 
found in England he had raised to the number of fifteen, all 

F g f *|| n under the Metropolitan Primacy of Canterbury. By the es- 
tablishment for the most part of these Sees in villages or 
country monasteries, the bishops were "saved from the infection of court- 
life and corruption which forms nearly the whole history of the early 
Franco-Gallican church." 2 In other ways too Theodore worked for the 
cause of civilisation and culture by educating the clergy and raising the 
standards of life and morality. He left a Penitential, the first compiled 
in Britain. 3 We also hear of a school at Canterbury, where arithmetic, 
astronomy, Latin, and Greek were taught, besides Scriptural subjects and 
music. Especial stress is laid on the thanks due to Theodore for diffusing 
a knowledge of Gregorian music, till then restricted to the kingdom of 
Kent. In all his educational work he had the help of his friend and 
companion the Abbot Hadrian, a native of Africa, who had studied in 
Southern Italy. 4 

No sooner had Theodore been laid in his grave than Wilfrith began 
to rebel against the position so recently accepted by him. He com- 
plained of lands withheld from his church ; of invasions of his rights at 
Ripon; 5 but his real grievance was the curtailment of the See of York, 
which he contended ought to be restored to its pristine dimensions. 
Ealdfrith insisted that the decrees of Theodore must be respected. 

wif *tn Wilfrith refusing to stand by them was again sent into exile, 
again ^Ethelred of Mercia received him with open arms, and installed 

in xi e. ki m as Bishop of Leicester, the See falling vacant. 6 Between 
691 and 693 we find him consecrating bishops, Canterbury being still 
vacant. 7 On the 29th June, 693, a new archbishop was consecrated, 
Berhtwald, previously abbot of Reculver in Kent. 8 

For the next nine years we hear nothing of Wilfrith's case ; but he must 

1 See Bishop Stubbs' Life of Theodore in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography. 

2 Stubbs, sup., and Const. H., I. 219. 

3 See this, H. and S., III. 173. 

4 For Theodore and Hadrian see Breda, H. £., IV. c. 1, and V. passim. 

5 Eadhged, the ex-Bishop of Lindsey, had been established by Ecgfrith at Ripon, 
circa 680 ; he may have continued to exercise episcopal functions there. Baeda, IV. 12. 

6 See yFdde, c. 45 ; where however the exact point of the quarrel is rather slurred 
over. It is worthy of note that /Ethelred gave Wilfrith only one of the Mercian Sees, 
though two, if not three of them fell vacant. 

7 Bada, 23 : Reg. Sacr., H. and S., III. 220. 

8 Baeda, V. 8. He was consecrated at Lyons by the archbishop. 

a.d. 702-706] LAST YEARS OF WILFRITH 201 

have contrived to alienate Berhtwald, as in 702 x we hear of a Synod at 
Austerfield, on the confines of Yorkshire and Notts, held by the Arch- 
bishop under the protection of Ealdfrith, to judge Wilfrith. When Wilfrith 
appeared he was required to subscribe an absolute submission to the deci- 
sion of the assembly. He declined to do so, except subject to the Canons 
of the Church, and the decrees of Pope Agatho. He was offered the 
abbey of Ripon if he would abdicate his episcopal functions. Wilfrith 
refused with scorn. He had established in Britain the Roman Easter and 
the Roman Tonsure ; he had introduced the Benedictine Rule. How 
could he abdicate, who was not conscious of one single dereliction of 
duty? Again he appealed to Rome. 2 

In the seventieth year of his age, and the fortieth of his episcopate, 

Wilfrith undertook his third journey to Rome (704). 3 The matter was 

Third carefully sifted, the investigation extending over four months. 

Journey to But the decision of the Pope (John VI.) was much less favour- 

ome " able to Wilfrith than that of Agatho. John simply directed 

Berhtwald to make the best compromise that he could between Wilfrith 

on the one hand, and John of Beverley Bishop of Hexham, and Bosa, 

who had returned to the See of York, on the other hand. 4 

Under these circumstances Wilfrith would have preferred to end his 
days abroad ; but the Pope ordered him to return to his duties. On 
landing in Kent he had a friendly reception from the Archbishop, and the 
two apparently entered London together. 5 

Events occurred to facilitate a settlement of the long protracted dispute. 

Bosa, the rival Bishop of York, was dead. Ealdfrith died soon after Wil- 

frith's return. 6 The Government of his son and successor Osred, a boy of 

eight, agreed to reinstate Wilfrith in the See of Hexham, but not in that of 

York, though York was vacant and Hexham was not. To 

Hexham. ma ^e a vacancy at Hexham, John of Beverley was translated 
to York. The whole matter was finally settled in a Synod 
held by Archbishop Berhtwald on the banks of the Nidd 7 (Yorkshire, 
West Riding). 

Within four years Wilfrith passed away in peace at his monastery of 

1 Twenty-two years from a.d. 680; /Edde, c. 46, p. 66. 

2 ^Edde, 46, 47, comparing Wilfrith's speech at Rome, c. 53. 

3 On his way Wilfrith paid a visit to the English mission in Frisia under Willebrord, 
Bishop of Utrecht. Baeda, III. 13. Willibrord was a native of the Yorkshire coast. 
For his work see Boeda, V. 9, 10, 11 ; H. and S., III. 225; and his Life in Smith's 
Christian Biography. 

4 .Edde, c. 54. For the date see H. and S., III. 262. 

5 ^dde, c. 55-57. 

6 14th Dec, 705 ; Chron. Dand E. Baeda, V. 18. Stevenson suggests that the date 
should be 16th May, 705. Note to Baeda. 

T a.d. 706. yEdde, cc. 58-60. Bseda, V. 3. 

202 NORTHUMBRIA AND MERCIA [a.d. 686-688 

Oundle ; x a grand and interesting personality, in fact the Becket of his 

Ealdfrith apparently handed down the kingdom of Northumbria to his 
successors much as he had received it, without substantial loss or gain. 
But during the twenty years of his rule " the literary and 
artistic impulse" received from the Celtic and Roman 
churches produced striking results. Benedict Biscop brought books from 
Rome to be mastered and popularised by the patient industry of Bseda ; 
while Csedmon turned Scripture history into English verse. Thus Northum- 
bria became, for the time, quite a " literary centre." 2 

The death of Ealdfrith had been preceded by a year by the abdication 
of his contemporary ^Ethelred of Mercia, who retired to the monastery 
of Bardney, 3 leaving the crown to his nephew Coenred, son of VVulfhere. 
The material progress of Mercia seems to be shown by its currency. 
zEthelred was the first of English kings to issue coins stamped with his 
own name. But in the latter years of his reign the growing strength of 
Wessex had deprived him of all control over London, Essex, and the 
South coast. 

Wessex had sunk to its lowest at the death of Cenwalh (672), being 

broken up among petty kings. For a year after his death his widow 

Sexburh had actually held rule ; 4 a startling innovation for a 

v/essex. kingdom where even the position of a Consort-Queen was not 

recognised. With respect to the weakness of the Western 

kingdom it has been pointed out that this may have been due partly to 

the struggle for the headship between the Houses of Ceawlin and Cutha, 

partly to the practice of appointing under-kings of the Royal Family to 

rule the successive conquests from the Welsh. 5 The period of disruption 

_ _ „ was brought to a close about the year 68 < when Ceadwalla of 
Ceadwalla. ° J 

the House of Ceawlin fought his way to supremacy. In 686 

we hear of his ravaging Sussex and proposing to put the whole Jutish 

population of the Isle of Wight to the sword : the whole island was treated 

as confiscated property, and one-fourth part of it, estimated at 300 hides 

(familicz), was assigned as a thank offering to Wilfrith, then still in Sussex, 

the Bishop having harboured Ceadwalla when he was in exile. 6 

From Sussex Ceadwalla pushed on into Kent, invading it two years 

running ; but there in 687 he lost his brother Mul, burnt to death in a 

house that he was plundering. 7 Next year Ceadwalla threw down his 

bloodstained crown and retired from Britain, to die on pilgrimage at 

1 iEdde, 44, 45. Frid., 12th Oct., 709, Reg. Sacrum. He was buried at Ripon : for 
the inscription on his tomb see Bseda, V. 19. 

2 Green, Making of England, 397 '. 

3 704, Chron. A ; Birch, Cartularium Sax., I. 163. 4 Chron. A. 

5 Freeman, Somerset Archceol. Proc., XVIII., cited Green, sup., 384. 

6 Baeda, IV. 12, 15, 16. ^idde, c. 42. Chron. A. 

7 Chron. A ; W. Malm., G. R., I., s. 14, 19, ed. Hardy. 

a.d. 688-722] WESSEX AGAIN RISING 203 

Rome. 1 His kinsman Ine, also of the House of Ceawlin, succeeded 

him, and ruled with considerable success for some eight and 
Ine. , . 

thirty years. 

In his code of Laws, published about the year 690, 2 Ine speaks of 
'Eorconwold' of London as 'mine biscep,' just as he calls Hedde of 
Winchester ' mine biscep,' indicating an assumption of supremacy over 
Essex. In 694 the men of Kent under Wihtrsed formally accepted his 
supremacy ; and agreed to pay a heavy wer for the death of Mul. 3 Ine 
would thus be lord of the whole South coast from Thanet to Dorset. In 
710 Ine took up the work of Western conquest where it had been left 
by Cenwalh, and attacked Geraint King of West Wales or Dyvnaint 
" Shrunken as it was from its old area, the realm of Dyvnaint still stretched 
from the Quantocks to the Land's End, and its king seems to have 
exercised some supremacy across the Bristol Channel over the princes of 
the opposite coast." 4 But Geraint was unable to withstand the onslaught 
of the Gewissas, and Ine wrested from him a tract of land along the Tone, 
with the districts of Crewkerne and Ilminister. The conquest was secured 
by the construction of a border fortress, Taunton {Tone-Tun). 

founded 1 placed in a strong position in a fen district, at the junction of 
the Tone and a small affluent called the Potwater. 5 

The expansion of Wessex elicited a challenge to a trial of strength, 
on the part of Mercia. In 715 Ceolred, king of the latter state, 6 
invaded Wessex, marching through Oxfordshire, and across the Thames, 
into Wilts. Ine met him at Wamborough on the Downs above the Vale 
of White Horse. The battle would seem to have been a drawn one, as no 
issue is recorded, 7 but Ceolred established no footing in Wessex. 

Ine must have attempted too much, or lost prestige in some way or 
other, in the latter years of his reign, as they were marred by domestic 
revolts — "the curse of Wessex." In 721 we hear of the iEtheling 
Cynewulf being put to death by Ine; and in 722 we hear of the king's 
consort ^Ethelburh — we must not speak of a Queen of Wessex — laying 
siege to Taunton, and destroying it on one side, while the king was 

1 Chron. A, a.d. 688. Ceadwalla died in April, 689. Inscript. ; Bred., V. 7 ; Flor. 
Wore. 2 H & s ? IIL 2I4 . 

3 The Chronicle gives the sum paid as ' thirty thousand,' the denomination of the 
coin being omitted. Kemble would read 'thirty thousand scsettas '=1,500 shillings. 
Saxons, I. 283. 

4 Green, 387, citing Freeman, Somerset Archceol. Proc, XVIII. For a letter of 
Abbot Ealdhem of the year 705 to Geraint urging church union, see H. & S., III. 268. 

5 Chron. D & E. "The existing earthworks, though mutilated, are beyond question 
original " : they enclose about seven acres, and are surrounded by water. Clark, 
Military Architecture, II. 488. 

6 Ceolred, son of yEthelred, came to the throne in 709, on the abdication of his cousin 
Coinred, son of Wulfhere, the elder brother of /Ethelred. Breda, V. 19. 

7 Chron. A, etc. Green, 392. 

2o 4 LEGISLATION OF INE [a.d. 725-726 

pursuing Ealdberht, another rebel ^Etheling, through Surrey and Sussex on 

the other side. A fresh invasion of Sussex in 725 resulted in the death of 

., ,. .. Ealdberht: and then in 726 Ine "laid down his troubled 
Abdication. . 

crown, and like his predecessor Ceadwalla sought peace and 

death in a pilgrimage to Rome." * 

Ine was distinctly a friend of the church. At the death of Heddi 
Bishop of Winchester in 705 he completed Theodore's scheme by 
dividing the Diocese. Daniel was consecrated Bishop of a 
aBishoprte. reduced See of Winchester, while the Western districts were 
assigned to Ealdhelm, the scholarly Abbot of Malmesbury, as 
Bishop of Sherborne. 2 Ine was liberal in his benefactions to Winchester 
and Malmesbury ; 3 and the stamp of ecclesiastical influence is impressed 
as distinctly on his Laws as on any other of the Anglo-Saxon Codes. 
Baptism of infants and payment of Church dues (ciric-sceattum) are made 
compulsory, Sunday labour is prohibited ; so is the selling of bonds- 
men over sea. 4 An ealdorman allowing a thief to escape from custody 
forfeits his " scire," ' unless the king will show him grace.' 5 The 
references to Welshmen are numerous. We have the Welsh slave 
(theow wealli) estimated at a 60J. wer\ the Welsh freeman with one hide of 
land, and the Welsh rent-paying tenant (gafol-gelda), both rated at 1205. 
The king's mounted Welshman (Jiors-wcalh), ' who can go on errands ' 
{gecerendian\ is worth 200*. ; and the Welsh gentleman with five hides is 
rated as a " six-hynde " man, namely, at 6oo.r., 6 like the Englishman of 
the same estate. 

At the death of Ealdfrith, the star of Northumbria seemed about to pale 

under a series of feeble kings. Ealdfrith, as already stated, was succeeded 

by his son Osred, a boy of eight, who, after a wild career of 

Nortlmmbria. some ten years, was made away with by kinsmen of his own 

(a.d. 716). 7 But his lieutenants could hold their own against 

the Picts, who suffered a severe defeat in 710 or 711 'in the plain of 

1 Beeda, V. 7 ; Chron. A, etc. ; Green, 393. 

2 Bgeda, V. 18. Reg. Sacr., H. & S., III. 275, 276. Sherborne took in Wilts, 
Berks, Dorset, and the conquered parts of Somerset. Hants, Surrey and Sussex 
r.emained under Winchester. 

3 See Birch, Cart. Sax., I. pp. 148, 149; also 166, 177. The numerous charters in 
favour of Glastonbury however are considered spurious. 

4 Schmid, Gesetze Ine, c. 2. 3, 4, 11. 5 Id., c. 36. 

6 Id., cc. 23, 24, 33, 74. 

7 Bseda, V. 18, 22 ; Chron. A ; Symeon of Durham, Hist. Regg., II. 15 (Rolls Series) ; 
and the letter of Boniface to /Ethelbald, H. & S., III. 355. Symeon, Precentor of Dur- 
ham, was probably born about the year 1060. He was in a monastic house at Jarrow 
for some time before its removal to Durham in 1083. He was present at the opening of 
St. Cuthberht's tomb in 1 104 ; he probably died about 1 130. He is a primary authority on 
Northern affairs. His Historia Regum incorporates from 731 to 802 an old Northumbrian 
chronicle not extant in any other shape. See Mr. T. Arnold's Introduction to the Rolls 
edition of his works, and Bishop Stubbs' Preface to Roger of Hoveden in the same series. 

a.d. 710-735] "THE VENERABLE BEDE" 205 

Manann ' ; or ' between Haefe and Caere,' by which " the rivers Avon and 
Carron are probably meant." 1 This identification if correct would imply 
that West Lothian had been recovered by the English. Osred was 
succeeded by Coenred, 2 a collateral said to be descended from a natural 
son of Ida. 3 In two years' time he died (718), and was followed by 
Osric, of whose parentage nothing is told us. Osric died 9th May, 729, 
leaving the crown to Ceolwulf, brother of the late Coenred. 4 Ceolwulf, we 
are told, came to the throne under unfavourable auspices. Eight years he 
reigned, and then he was shorn and sent to Lindisfarne. 5 Yet his reign 

was marked by two events of interest. In 730 Whithern was 
Whftnern. ma< ^ e an independent See for Galloway, Pechthelm being its 

first Bishop. Of course he was appointed under Northumbrian 
influences. 6 In 735 again the See of York was re-established as an Arch- 
bishopric, in the person of Ecgberht, cousin to Ceolwulf, who received a 
pall from Gregory III., a distinction conferred on no previous occupant of 
the See since Paulinus. 7 

The year 735 was also marked by the death of our great chronicler 
Baeda, fondly known to after ages as " the Venerable Bede." 

Baeda was born about the year 673, of unknown parents, probably on the 
very lands that afterwards formed the endowment of the Jarrow monastery 

where so much of his life was spent. At seven years of age'he 

was placed in the hands of Benedict Biscop who had already 
built his monastery at Wearmouth, but not that at Jarrow. At nineteen 
(a.d. 690), Baeda received deacon's orders from John of Beverley, then 
Bishop of Hexham ; and at thirty (a.d. 702) he received priest's orders 
from the same hands. " There is no evidence that he ever wandered from 
the banks of the Wear further than to York, which he visited shortly 
before his death." His whole life was spent between the twin foundations 
of St. Peter's, Wearmouth, and St. Paul's, Jarrow, under the rule, first of 
Biscop himself, and then of his successor, Abbot Ceolfrith. Apart from 
the performance of his monastic duties Baeda led the life of a scholar — 
the father of English scholars — dividing his time between reading and 
writing and teaching. " Semper aid discere aut docere aut scribere duke 
habui." 8 By patient industry he made himself master of all the science 
of his time. A list of thirty-seven works attests his diligence as a writer ; 
while as a teacher he could boast that 600 monks, besides laymen, had 

1 Tighemac, 711 ; Chron. A, 710. Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 270. For " Manann" 
compare the hills of Slamannan on the one side, and the county of Clackmannan on 
the other side. 2 Baeda, V. 22 ; Chron. A, A.d. 716. 

3 Flor., a.d. 716, 729, comparing 547. 4 Baeda, V. 23. 

5 A.d. 737, Chron. D and E. Symeon, Hist. Regg., a.d. 731-737 (vol- II. 3°, 32). 
Baeda, Cont., M.H.B., 288. 6 Baeda, V. 23 ; Reg. Sacr. 

7 Ecgberht was apparently consecrated in 734, and received the pall in 735 ; Chron. 
D and E; Symeon, sup., and Hist. Dimelniensis Ecclesice, p. 49 (Rolls Series, Arnold, 
No. 75). Haddon & Stubbs, III. 335. 8 Baeda, HE., V. 24. 

206 LEARNING IN THE NORTH [a.d. 737-758 

availed themselves of his tuition. 1 His history of his own times was an 

" imperishable legacy " to posterity ; but not the only one worthy of 

remembrance, if indeed we owe to him the introduction of the Era of the 

Incarnation, for the purposes of historical chronology. He wrote on the 

subject, and his Historia Ecclesiastica is said to have been the first work 

based on that system. 2 

Ceolwulf on his retirement was succeeded by a cousin, Eadberht, 

brother to Archbishop Ecgberht, to whom doubtless he owed his election. 3 

Twenty-one years Eadberht ruled, with distinct success. 

Eadberht Toward Mercia friendly relations were maintained, save on 
King. . . 

one occasion, namely in 740, when his restless neighbour 

iEthelbald basely took advantage of his being away on an expedition 

among the Picts to invade and harry Northumbria. 4 On the other hand 

Eadberht was able to make considerable acquisitions at the expense of 

the Strathclyde Britons, who appear to have been hard pressed by the 

Dalriads and the Picts. 5 In 750 he conquered ' the plain of " Cyil " and 

other districts' — ''evidently Kyle in Ayrshire." 6 This suc- 

C th q N eSt th in cess was P roDaD ^y ne lp e d by tne war between the Britons and 
the Picts of which the Celtic Annals tell us under this same 
year, a Pictish king or under-king, Talargan, falling in battle. 7 In 756 
Eadberht completed the seeming overthrow of the Britons by capturing 
their great stronghold, Ailcluyth or Dunbarton, this success being effected 
with the help of the Pictish king " Unust," otherwise ^Engus of 
Fortrenn. 8 We are bound to add that ten days after the army was 
nearly cut off on its homeward march. 9 

Of wider interest was the establishment by Archbishop Ecgberht of a 

school at York, with a library, understood to be the largest in Britain. 

Like Theodore, Ecgberht himself took an active part in the 

School work of his school, which had the glory of turning out so 

distinguished a scholar as Alcuin. 10 It was probably the 

reputation of this school that gained for Northumbria the honour of 

1 Vitce Abbatum, 328 q.v. 

2 On this point see Earle, Land Charters, xxxii. In the Saxon charters the era A.D. 
is first found after the time of Bseda. Nennius did not use it systematically, though he 
refers to it and to the Passion as eras in one or two places. For Basda's life generally 
see Bishop Stubbs' article in Smith's Christian Biographies. 

3 Bseda, Cont., sup. ; Symeon. 

4 Baeda, Cont., sup. The Chronicle E records the fact under the year 737. 

5 Tighernac records defeats of the Britons by the Dalriads in 711 and 717; and 
Symeon under the year 744 has " Bellum inter Pictos et Britones." 

6 Bseda, Cont., sup. ; Skene, I. 294. 

7 Tighernac, Ann. Camb. Mr. Skene supposes Talargan to have been a brother 
of ^Engus ruling under him. 8 1st Aug., 756, Sym. 

9 Between " Ovania" and " Niwanbirig, id est ad novam civitatem," Symeon. Mr. 
Skene suggests that " Ovania" may be Avendale. 

10 See Green, M. of E., 405-408. 


diplomatic overtures from the Frankish king Pepin, distinguished by 
French writers as "Pepin le Bref" (Short)} Interesting evidence of the 
joint character of the brothers' rule in Northumbria has been adduced 
from the inscriptions on the " stycas " or copper pieces coined by them at 
York, which show the legend of the king on one side and that of the 
Primate on the other. 2 In the Pontifical of Ecgberht we seem to find 
our Coronation Oath in its earliest form. 3 

But Eadberht at the height of his prosperity giving way, against the 
advice of his friends, to the infatuation of the times, threw up his royal 
dignity and his sphere of usefulness to devote himself to the vain 
repetitions of the cloister, there to live on, a shaveling monk, for ten 
years more. 4 

With the abdication of Eadberht the political influence of Northumbria 
came to an end. The son Oswulf, in whose favour Eadberht had abdi- 
cated, was discarded at the end of a year ; and revolution 
Northumbria. followed revolution with bewildering rapidity, nine reigns 
being crowded into the space of thirty-eight years ; of which 
reigns the longest without a break covered nine years, and the shortest 
twenty-seven days. 5 

To return to Mercia and Wessex. The central kingdom after the re- 
tirement of ^Ethelred had gone through a period of depression. His 
successor was his nephew Coenred, son of Wulfhere (a.d. 704), 

»iSrcia° f as a l rea -dy mentioned ; but Coenred again in 709 threw up 
his sceptre, and went to Rome to make way for his cousin 
Ceolred, the son of ^Ethelred. This alternation seems to prove the reality 
of the elective principle in Mercia ; and all the more so in this case as 
we are told that under Coenred the functions of government had been 
discharged by Ceolred. 6 

The great event of Ceolred's reign was the invasion of Wessex, and 
the battle of Wamborough, already noticed ; next year he died, at the 
dinner table, in the hall of an Ealdorman, in a drunken orgy. 7 Mercia 

.ffithelbald ^ ien na ^ eo ^ a rea ^ king m tne P erson of yEthelbald, a prince 
descended from a brother of King Penda, 8 a man whose talents 

1 Sym., Hist. Dunelm. Eccl., p. 48. 

2 See these in the British Museum. At an earlier date however pieces with the joint 
names of the king and archbishop had been struck at Canterbury. 

3 For the Pontifical (a collection of episcopal services) and other works of Ecgberht 
see his Life by Canon Raine, Smith's Christian Biog. ; Maskell, Mon. Rit., II. 77. 

4 A.D. 758. Baeda, Cont. ; M.H.B., 289; Symeon, H. R. and H. Dune!., II. c. 3. 
a.d. 757, Chron. D and E. These retirements were not always voluntary, but that of 
Eadberht appears to have been such. His brother Ecgberht was still Archbishop. 

5 For these kings see Table below. 

6 Boeda, V. 19 ; Chron. a.d. 704, 709. The student will note that Coenred of Mercia 
reigned 704-709; Coenred of Northumbria 716-718. 

7 Chron., a.d. 716. Boniface to Mthelbald, H. & S., III. 355. 

8 Chron., sup. ; Flor., App., M.H.B., 638. Kemble assigns to the year 734 a charter of 

208 ASCENDANCY OF MERCIA [a.d. 716-757 

and ambition had already excited jealousy, and who had been forced to 
find a hiding place at Crowland with the hermit Guthlac. 1 

^Ethelbald reigned for the lengthy period of forty-one years, in itself a 
speaking fact. When Ba^da closed his History in 731 ^Ethelbald was 
recognised as being supreme over all England south of the Humber, 2 Ine 
being no more. As Eadberht worked Northwards against the Strathclyde 
Britons, so ^Ethelbald worked Southwards against the men of Wessex and 
the West Welsh, the boundary of the Humber being mutually respected, 
except on the one occasion already noticed, when ^Ethelbald invaded the 
Northern Kingdom. In their time there were in fact but two centres of 
political influence in England, York and Lichfield. 

In 733 iEthelbald began his conquests by winning Somerton ; perhaps 
Somerton in Oxfordshire, as Wessex still retained some lands North of the 
Thames ; 3 but perhaps more likely Somerton in Somerset, as the capture is 
spoken of as an important event ; and in the ensuing year we find ^thelbald 
disposing of lands at Maiden Bradley, within twenty-five miles of Somer- 
ton. 4 Again in 739, when Cuthred succeeded ^Ethelheard as king of the 
Gewissas, 5 we hear of constant aggression on the part of ^Ethelbald, 

sometimes openly, sometimes by underhand intrigue. 6 It 
u of wesse^ was P r °bably as a vassal that about 742 or 743 Cuthred 

marched with .^Ethelbald to attack the Welsh. 7 Cuthred 
however also proved successful as a king. About the year 749 he put down 
a dangerous rising under one yEthilhun distinguished as ' the proud ealdor- 
man ' ; and put it down so judiciously as to win back ^Ethilhun to his 
service. 8 A change of attitude towards yEthelbald immediately followed ; 9 
and in the twelth year of his reign (751 ?) Cuthred finally shook off the 
yoke of Mercia by defeating yEthelbald at " Beorgfeorda," Burford in 

^Ethelbald dated " mense Septembrio die indie. II. anno regni nostri XVII." Cod. Dip., 
No. 78. If this is correct ^Ethelbald began to reign in 717. 

1 Green, sup., 394 ; Flor. , a.d. 716. 

2 Bseda, V. 23. In a charter of the year 736 /Ethelbald styles himself " Rex 
Britannise," and " Rex non solum Marcensium sed et omnium provinciarum qua? generale 
nomine Sut Angli dicuntur," Cod. Dipt., No. 80. The customs of the Port of London 
were his. Cod. Dipt., No. 78. 

3 Chron. A and C ; Freeman, O.E.H., p. 75. 

4 Cod. Dipl. , No. 79 ; Earle, Land Charters, p. 26. 

5 Breda, Cont. ; Symeon. Ine was succeeded by his kinsman yEthelheard (brother 
to ^thelburh, Freeman, 0. E. H., 74), who reigned fourteen years; the A. S. 
Chronicles make his reign end in 740 or 741, but the date of the Northern authorities is 
the only one that falls in with the statement of the Chronicles, that ^thelheard reigned 
14 years and Cuthberht 16 years ; and this again makes for 626 as the date of the abdica- 
tion of Ine as against the 628 of Chronicle A. 

6 Chron. C, D, E, a.d. 740 ; H. Hunt, and Chron. A, a.d. 741. 

7 Chron., H. Hunt., A.D. 743. 8 Chron., H. Hunt., A.D. 750. 

9 " Anno DCCL. Cuthred 'rex . . . surrexit contra Edilbaldumregemet OengusumW 
Bseda, Cont. The name Oengusum is mysterious. I rectify the dates in the Chronicles 
and Huntingdon by taking 739 as the year of Cuthred's accession. 

a.d. 7i6-757l ^ETHELBALD AND THE CHURCH 209 

Oxfordshire. ^Ethilhun himself as Standard-bearer supported the Golden 
Dragon of Wessex. The victory was a very glorious one for Cuthred, as 
we are told that ^Ethelbald had the support of East Anglia, Essex, and 
Kent. 1 But coalition armies were seldom successful in those days. 

Cuthred then resumed his attacks on the Welsh; but in 755 he passed 
away, having reigned sixteen years. A kinsman Sigeberht succeeded 
him 2 for a year or so, to be then deposed by the Witan in favour of 
Cynewulf (757). 3 That same year ^Ethelbald came to an untimely end, 
being assassinated at night by his own bodyguard (a sin's tutoribtis) at 
" Seccandune," probably Seckington in Warwickshire, four miles North- 
East of Tamworth. 4 

^Ethelbald had something of an ecclesiastical policy. In 737 at the 

death of Aldwine alias Wor, Bishop of Lichfield, he broke up the see, 

appointing Hwitta to be Bishop of Lichfield for the Mercians 

a Bishopric, proper ; and Torthelm or Totta to be Bishop of Leicester for 

the Middle Angles. 5 In 716 and 742 he held councils at 

c u " Clovesho " and confirmed the ' Privilege ' of Wihtraed, King 
of Kent, apparently introducing it into Mercia. The ' Privilege ' 
in question exempted churches and their lands from all secular control 
(dominium), and all liability to secular services. It also guaranteed to 
monasteries free canonical election of abbots and abbesses, subject to the 
consent of the bishop of the diocese. The question of the appointment 
of bishops was passed over in silence, that being a prerogative that no 
king could forego. 6 It may be noticed that ^Ethelbald's charter makes 
an express reservation of the well-known trinoda nccessitas? a reservation 
not contained in the original ' Privilege.' 

A third important council, also held at " Clovesho," under the presi- 
dency of ^Ethelbald, is recorded in September, 747, when all the prelates 

1 Chron., H. Hunt., a.d., 752. 2 Symeon. 

3 The accession of Cynewulf is apparently given by the Continuation of B?eda under 
the year 757, the event however being misrecorded as his death {obiit), M.H.B., 289. The 
A.S. Chronicles with one accord place the death of Cuthred in 754, and the accession 
of Cynewulf in 755. They make his reign last 31 years and end it in 784. So too 
Florence and H. Huntingdon. Symeon however places his death in 786, which seems 
more correct, as he certainly lived till that year. (See below.) 

4 757. Bseda, Cont., sup. ; Symeon. For the proof of the date as against the 755 of 
the A.S. Chronicles, see Stubbs' Hoveden, I. xci. 5 Sym., Reg. Sacr. 

6 See H. & S., III. 238, 300, 340. The charters on the whole seem genuine : no 
reference to bishops occurs in the best copy of the original, but it is interpolated into 
later copies. For the immunities of the Church, cf. Bosda's letter to Archbishop 
Ecgberht of York, H. & S., III. 321, and the letter of St. Boniface, Id., 354 ; and for 
Wihtrasd's attitude towards the church see his Laws enacted in 696, Schmid, p. 14 ; 
H. and S., III. 233. 

7 " Exceptis expeditione pontis et arcis coustructione" Id., p. 341. The duties of 
military service (fyrd or fyrd-fareld), repairing roads and bridges (brycg-bot or brycg- 
geweorc), and repairing fortifications {burh-bot) were burdens appertaining to all lands 
in whatever hands. 

R.H. P 

210 COUNCILS AND CANONS [a.d. 716-757 

South of the Humber attended. Thirty Canons for the regulation of the 
church were passed. 1 A friendly letter however from St. Boniface of 
Mentz to ^Ethelbald informs us that while the king maintained strict order 
in his dominions, there was much to amend in his private life, and that 
the nunneries were liable to be made the scenes of great irregularities. 2 

The death of ^Ethelbald was followed by a short period of civil strife ; 
■ a tyrant,' Beornred, seizing the throne till he was suppressed by the 
{ bloody sword ' of Offa, cousin to the late king. So Beornred died and 
Offa reigned. 3 


Saints and Churchmen of the Seventh Century 

Hild (St. Hilda) was the grandniece of King Eadwine, being daughter of his nephew 
Hereric, the son of a brother whose name has not come down to us. She was born in 
the year 614, shared the vicissitudes of Eadwine's early life, and like him received 
baptism at the hand of Paulinus, perhaps -on the same Easter Day (627). At the age of 
33 she resolved to embrace a monastic life, and went to East Anglia intending to follow 
her sister Hereswith, widow of an East Anglian prince, to the monastery of Chelles in 
France. Bishop Aidan, however, induced her to return to Northumbria, and established 
her in a small Religious House of one hide on the North bank of the Wear. After a year 
she was transferred to a nunnery at "Heruteu," 4 Hartlepool, of which she became 
Abbess. After the victory of Winwaed Field (654) Hild received from Oswiu an endow- 
ment of 120 hides for Hartlepool, with the care of his infant daughter yElfied, whom he 
had dedicated to Christ ; but for reasons not stated Hild after two years' time left Hartle- 
pool to found a new monastery at Streaneshalch {Lighthouse Bay), now Whitby, where she 
received ten hides of land as an endowment. 5 

There the celebrated conference of 664 was held. Her own feelings were with the 
Scots, but she bowed to the decision of Oswiu, and adopted the Roman Easter. The 
sympathy of her character gained for her from all who held intercourse with her the 
appellation of 'Mother.' She must have been a woman of superior judgment as she 
was largely consulted even in matters of state. Her monastery became a perfect training 
school for bishops, as no less than five monks who had been under her attained to the 
Episcopate. She died on the 17th November, 680. 6 

Botulf must have been one of the most venerated of Anglo-Saxon saints, as fifty 
churches are said to have been dedicated to him. But the only definite fact that can be 
given of his life is that recorded by the A.S. Chronicle, namely that in the year 654 he 
began to ' timber ' his minster at Icanhoe. This place must be identified with Boston, 
properly Botulfston, which takes its name from the sainted Abbot. It also appears that 
Ceolfrith, afterwards Abbot of Jarrow, was his pupil. See the anon. Life of Ceolfrith, 
printed by Mr. Stevenson, Baeda, II. 319. For facts alleged in a Life by Folcard, 
Abbot of Thorney after the Conquest, see Acta SS. and Smith's Christian Biographies. 

Equally obscure is the history of St. Mildred, Midrith or Milthryth. It appears how- 
ever that she was daughter of Merewald, a younger son of Penda, who ruled the West 
Angles, or Mercians proper, as under-king. Her mother was a Kentish princess, 
Eormenburh, daughter of Eormenred, grandson of /Ethelbirht. Eormenburh eventually 
went back to her own country, and founded a nunnery there, at Minster in Thanet, in 

1 See H. and S., III. 360-376. 

2 Id., 350, a.d- 744-747. For monasteries in name, established merely to obtain ex- 
emption from secular law, see Bagda's Letter, sup., p. 320, 321. 

3 Bgeda, Cont. ; Sym. ; Chron. A. Offa signs a charter as if recognised heir to Mercia 
in anticipation : " Nondum regno Merciorum accepto." Cod. Dipl. No. 102. 

4 "Insula cervi," Breda, III. 24 ; IV. 23. . 5 Baeda, III. 24. 

6 Baeda, sup. Hild also founded Hacanos or Hackness near Whitby. Flor., a.d. 680. 
In the times of the Danish inroads her relics were translated to Malmesbury. W. Malm., 
G.R., I. p. 77. 


honour of the Virgin Mary. Mildred succeeded her, and gained such a name that the 
nunnery was called after her ever afterwards. See Florence A.D. 675, and Symeon, 
H. R., 3, 12. 

Cuthberht was born of humble parents about the year 625, a native of East Lothian. 
As a youth he kept sheep in the valley of the Leader above Melrose. About the 
time of the death of Aidan (651) he had a vision, and went down to Old Melrose, 
then a mere mission station from Lindisfarne. At Melrose k Cuthberht made so good 
an impression that Eata the Abbot of Lindisfarne took him with him when he went to 
Ripon to found a monastery on land given by Ealchfrith the son of Oswiu. From 
this monastery they were turned out in 661 by Wilfrith. Cuthberht went back to 
Melrose, where he became Provost. In 664 he was promoted to be Provost of Lindis- 
farne. There he had to reconcile his brethren to the new Roman rule of Easter. After 
twelve years at Lindisfarne he retired first to a cave on the mainland near Howburn, and 
then to one of the small Fame islands, near Lindisfarne, for the sake of privacy and 
freedom to devote himself to a sterner asceticism. From this seclusion he was dragged 
in 684 to be made a Bishop. As he refused to go to Hexham, the vacant See to which 
he had been appointed, his friend Eata, then Bishop of Lindisfarne, threw up that See 
in order that Cuthberht might have it, and himself went to Hexham. Cuthbert died on the 
20th March, 687. He was buiied at Lindisfarne, of which he became the patron saint. 
In the time of the Danish inroads the body was removed from Lindisfarne (a.d. 875) 
and after many wanderings and several translations was finally settled at Durham in 999. x 

It is clear that Cuthberht's great reputation was due not merely to his ascetic practices, 
but to the sweetness of his character, and his success as an itinerant missionary and 

yEbbe (St. Ebb) was daughter of /Ethelfrith of Northumbria by his second wife Acha. 
It is said that she was established by her brother Oswiu first at the old Roman station 
of Vindomora, renamed after her Ebchester ; then at Coldingham (Coludi 2 tirbs), 
founded by her. She interceded for Wilfrith when in prison at Dunbar, and procured 
his release 3 She died 25th August, 683. Her name is preserved by St. Abb's Head 
near Coldingham. 4 

yEthelthryth (St. Etheldreda) was daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia, killed by 
Penda in 654. Before her father's death she had taken as her first husband Tondberht, 
Ealdorman of the South Girwas, who gave her as her ' morning gift ' the Isle of 
" Elge," or Ely. Tondberht having died about 655, /Ethelthryth was induced some 
five years afterwards to take Ecgfrith of Northumbria as her second husband. With 
him she lived about twelve years, but, according to Baeda and Wilfrith, as reported by 
iEdde, only as a sister with a brother. In 671 or 672 she left Ecgfrith to take the veil 
at Coldingham under /Ebbe (St. Ebb), her husband's aunt. Boeda states that Ecgfrith 
made large offers to Wilfrith to turn ^Ethelthryth from her purpose, but that he refused, 
and, in fact, he consecrated her as a nun. It does not appear however that the quarrel 
between Ecgfrith and Wilfrith can have originated in this matter, as the quarrel did not 
break out till 678, six years after the retirement of ^Ethelthryth, and some time after 
Ecgfrith's marriage with his second wife, Irmenburh. /Edde taxes her with the quarrel, 
and asserts that ^Ethelthryth kept her husband on good terms with the Bishop. After a 
year at Coldingham /Ethelthryth went to Ely, where she built the monastery of which 
she was made abbess. She died 23rd June, 679, her sister Sexburh succeeding her. 5 

Earconwald, or Erkenwald, deserves a word on account of his intimate connexion with 
St. Paul's, London, of which he became the local patron saint. He may have been born 
a.d. 635-645. He founded the monasteries of Berking and Chertsey. Berking he com- 
mitted to his sister .Ethel burh. Chertsey he ruled himself. He became Bishop of 
London in 675, and died 30th April, 693 (?). 7 Down to the Reformation his shrine was 
the Palladium of St. Paul's. An engraving of the shrine (that of 1 148) is given by Dug- 

1 See his Life by Canon Raine in Smith's Christian Biographies from Baeda, and below, 

A.D. 999. 

2 B?eda. 3 sEdde, c. 37. 4 See her Life by Canon Raine, sup. 

5 Compare her Life by Canon Raine in Smith's Christian Biographies. 

6 Bceda, H.E., IV. 6. The oldest charter of Chertsey Abbey appears to be that of 
Offa, Codex Dipl. No. 157. The charters purporting to be granted under the pro- 
tection of Frithewald, under-king of Surrey for Wulfhere, are marked as spurious ; Id. 
Nos. 986, 987, 988. » R Sacr ^ 


Caedmon of Streaneshalch or Whitby may be called the Father of the English , 
Christian Lyre. An illiterate man, a lay brother, employed at a grange or farm belong- 
ing to the monastery in the time of Abbess Hild, Coedmon being then of ripe years, was 
inspired with an idea, a genuine inspiration, namely, that of paraphrasing passages from 
Scripture History in the vernacular for popular use, a lay folk's Bible done in rhyme. 
The story ran that the inspiration came to him by night, in a dream, and that when 
morning came he found himself in possession of a new and unsuspected gift of poetry. 
His compositions were reported to the abbess, who made him take orders, and had him 
more fully instructed in Scripture and Theology. He died apparently between 680 
and 684. 1 

Biscop Baducing {i.e., Biscop son of Baduca), generally known as Benedict Biscop, 
was born about the year 628 of good family, if not of royal blood. He appears first as 
a minister, or thegn, at the court of Oswiu. At the age of twenty-five he determined 
to renounce the world, and made his first pilgrimage to Rome, Wilfrith going with him 
as far as Lyons, as already mentioned (653-654). He visited Rome a second time, 
665-668. During this absence from England he took monastic Orders at Lerins in the 
South of France, " then the seat of monastic discipline in its purest form." He returned 
to England with Theodore in 669, remaining in Kent for two years. He then went for 
the third time to Rome, apparently to buy books. Returning to England in 672, he 
went back to Northumbria, and received from Ecgfrith seventy hides of land on the Wear, 
where he founded St. Peter's Monastery, Wearmouth (674). For this work masons were 
brought from Gaul, with glass-workers to provide glazing for the windows. To com- 
plete the furnishing of his church he made his fourth journey to Rome (not earlier than 
678). He returned in 679, bringing a large collection of books, relics, pictures, etc. ; 
also John the archchanter, from St. Martin's, Rome, to instruct his monks in church 
music. Ecgfrith was so pleased with the monastery at Wearmouth that he gave Biscop 
forty hides of land to found a second house at Jarrow-on-the-Tyne, to be dedicated to 
St. Paul (680-682). Ceolfrith was made the first Abbot of this monastery. To pro- 
cure books and pictures for Jarrow Biscop made his fifth journey to Rome. He became 
paralysed in his last years, and died 12th January, 690, a man whose merits have hardly 
been fully recognised by posterity. To his enlightened zeal the world owes Bseda, the 
school of York, and the great Alcuin. 2 

Ealdhelm (St. Aldhelm), a scion of the Royal House of Wessex, was born about the 
year 650. He was educated by the Scot Maildulf, the founder of Malmesbury. For 
further teaching he went to Theodore's school at Canterbury, returning to Malmesbury, 
where he became Abbot in succession to Maildulf (670-676). He did much to spread 
Christianity in Western England : he founded monasteries at Frome and Bradford, and 
advised Ine in his restoration of Glastonbury. When the great Diocese of Wessex was 
divided in 705 Ealdhelm became Bishop of the western half, with his See at Sherborne. 
In the history of English literature and English education he occupies a very important 
place. " He was the first Englishman who cultivated classical learning with any success, 
and the first of whom any literary remains are preserved." He "filled Wessex" with 
monastic schools. "He was a fluent writer of very involved Latin"; his knowledge 
of Greek was but moderate. Hymns of his in the native language were popular in the 
time of yElfred, but none of them have come down to us. His work De Laudibiis Vir- 
ginitatis is specially mentioned by Boeda. He died on the 25th May, 709. 3 

Guthlac, presbyter and hermit, was born of a good Mercian family in 673 or 674. 
His youthful tastes were martial, and the first years of his manhood were spent in pre- 
datory warfare against the Welsh, though he himself, we are told, was the bearer of 

1 See Boeda, IV. 24. Poems conjecturally attributed to Caedmon have been printed 
by Thorpe from a unique MS. in the Bodleian Library. The dialect is West Saxon, 
and of a later date than that of Caedmon ; but the close correspondence of the first 
twenty-three lines with the paraphrase given by Baeda of the beginning of Csedmon's 
chief song, the story of Genesis, warrants the belief that we have here, with modifications 
and interpolations, a substantial relic of the Whitby poet. 

2 See Bishop Stubbs' Life of Biscop in Smith's Christian Biographies from Bosda's Vita; 

3 See his Life, which fills the fifth book of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontt. ; also his Gesta 
Regum, ss. 29-31 ; and Bishop Stubbs' article in Smith's Christian Biographies. 



a Welsh name. ] We may note that tribal warfare was evidently still part of the daily 
life of the upper classes. But Guthlac at the early age of twenty-four threw up these 
pursuits, and retired to the monastery of Ripon. Two years later, in 699, he migrated 
to Crowland, or Croyland, an uninhabited isle in the Fens of our South Lincolnshire, 
where he founded a cell. He seems to have spent the rest of his life there, and died 
in 714. 2 

1 So Felix, his biographer. 

2 Florence W. ; Chron. A. See the article by the Rev. C. Hole in Smith's Christian 
Biographies. Guthlac's Life by Felix is interesting, as being a native composition of the 
8th century. Acta SS., nth April, II. 37. 


A.D. 757-829 

Offa King of Mercia — First landing of Northmen — Ceonwulf King of Mercia— Ecgberht 
King of Wessex — Annexation of Devon — Incorporation of Kent — Supremacy of 
Wessex over South Britain 

UNDER Offa the kingdom of Mercia reached its zenith. He himself 
was quite the greatest English potentate of the century. Among 
European princes his figure seems to loom in the hazy distance as the 
most imposing after that of the mighty Karl, " Charlemagne." In fact 
when we consider the position to which Offa attained we may wonder that 
the final hegemony among English states did not rest with Mercia. Prob- 
ably its inland situation and its composite character as an agglomeration 
of tribes severed from each other by rivers and forests may be taken as 
leading causes of its ultimate failure. 

The policy of Offa, like that of his predecessor, will be found directed 
towards the South, Northumbria being left to its own troubles. Of the 
first fourteen years of his reign we hear little ; but in 771 we are told that 
he subdued the " Hastingas." 1 This was followed by grants of 
A SusSx? n Sussex land, to which Cynewulf of Wessex, and Ecgberht of 
Kent were attesting parties, a clear proof of their submission. 2 
Ecgberht however must shortly have grown restive, as in 774 we hear of 
the men of Kent being defeated by Offa at " Ottanforda," Otford : 3 and 
this success again is followed by grants of Kentish land to 
Archbishop Jaenberht. 4 Three years later Offa deprived 
Cynewulf of his last foothold North of the Thames, driving him from 
Bensington opposite Wallingford. 5 But Offa's chief wars were those 
Wessex a g amst tne Welsh. As early as 760 we hear of fighting be- 
tween Britons and ' Saxons ' near Hereford ; and of the death 
of Dunnagual, son of Teudubr. G But Offa did not go to work in earnest 
till 778, when he invaded and harried South Wales. 7 Six years later he 

1 Symeon ; R. Hoveden. 

2 15th August, 772 ; Birch, Cart. Sax., I. p. 294. H and S., III. 402. 

3 Chron. C, D, E ; Flor. ; H. Hunt. ;j A.D. 773, Chron. A. 

4 Cod. Dip. Nos. 121, 122. H. and S., sup. For further dealings with lands in 
Kent by'Offa see Cod. Dip. No. 1019. Earle, Land Charters, 66, 67. For the suc- 
cession of Archbishops from Berchtwald to Jaenberht see append. B to this chapter. 

5 A.D. 777, Chron. ; H. Hunt.; A.D. 778, Flor. 6 Ann. Camb. 

7 " Vastatio Brittonum dextralium." The Celts reckoned the points of the compass 



crossed the upper Severn, which till then had been the boundary ; drove 

And Wales the Prmce of Powys from his capital, previously known as 

Pengwyrn, but afterwards as Scrobbesbyrig or Shrewsbury ; and 

advanced the frontier of Mercia to the Wye, the conquest being secured 

partly by the establishment of English colonies, partly by the construction 

of a great defensive rampart, ever since known as Offa's Dyke, or in Welsh 

Offa's Dyke. Clawdh Offa. This earthwork ran from the estuary of the 

Severn to that of the Dee, along a line that has practically 

remained the boundary between England and Wales ever since. 1 

Of Offa's internal policy the most interesting fact was his attempt to 
detach the Mercian Bishops from Canterbury, and to establish a third 
Archbishopric at Lichfield. This may be taken as a proof that with him, 
as with Penda, consolidation rather than extension of territory was the 
aim ; and that he accepted a triple subdivision of England as the " per- 
manent basis " of her political system. It cannot be doubted that his 
scheme if it had maintained itself would have added a fresh obstacle to the 
ultimate unification of the kingdom. 2 The proposal naturally met with 
opposition both at Canterbury and Rome. Offa was so incensed with the 
resistance of the Pope, Adrian I., that he actually sounded Karl the Great 
as to the possibility of deposing Adrian, and appointing a Frankish Pope. 
Karl, a man of wider views than Offa, conveyed a hint of this intrigue to 
Adrian, advising him to indulge Offa in his wish. Adrian at once did as 
he was told, 3 and sent George, Bishop of Ostia, and Theophylactus, Bishop 
of Todi, on a Legatine mission to England, the first since that 
ai sion. 1S " °f St. Augustine. They landed in 786 4 and shortly had a 
meeting with Offa and Cynewulf of Wessex. 5 To save time the 
two Legates then parted company ; Theophylactus making a tour through 
Mercia and Wales, while George pushed on into Northumbria. Consider- 
able time elapsed before a Northern Synod could be convened ; but 

with their faces to the East. The South therefore was the right-hand side, the North the 
left-hand side. The south and north sides of Loch Tay are still known as "deschyra " 
(right) and " tuya " (left). 

1 Ann. Camb. Brut-y-Tywysogion (Rolls Series). Asser, De Rebus Gestis JElfredi, 
M.H.B., 471. Green, M. of E, 420. Freeman's O.E.H., 82. Asser was invited to 
the court of Alfred about 885, and died about 908. The Brut-y-T. or Chronicle of the 
Princes of Wales is supposed to have been compiled by Caradog of Llancarvan before 
1 150. Offa's Dyke ran from Caedwyn in the parish of Mold (Pennant, II. 273), past 
Rhuabon, 'to Wynnstay, Chirk and Selathyn, then past Oswestry (w. side) to Mont- 
gomery, and so on by Knighton and Kington, finally joining the Wye near Bridge 
Solers, some 6 miles w. of Hereford ; from thence it followed the left bank of the Wye 
down to Chepstow. 

2 See Green, sup., 423, who points to the influence of the Archbishopric of York in 
keeping the North apart from the South in much later days. 

3 See his letter to Karl, H. & S., I. 440. 4 Symeon. 

5 He was assassinated later in the year; Sym. (a.d. 784, Chron.) For details of 
the deed see append. A to this chapter. 

216 ENGLAND [a.d. 787-788 

eventually one was held on the 2nd Sept., 787, at " Pincanhala," Finchale, 

near Durham, 1 King Elfwald and Archbishop Eanbald of York being 

present. The Legate produced a set of cut and dry Canons or 

nnthalef ' decrees ' for the ordering of Church and State, which were 

accepted by all without demur. 2 A Mercian Synod followed 

either in the same year or the next, being held at " Cealchythe," Chelsea. 

Again the Legates tell us of the acceptance of their Canons ; but of the 

stormy discussions to which the prickly question of the new Archbishopric 

gave rise they say nothing. That the debates were of an 

and Chelsea. • L , , P , , , « jvj 

animated character appears from the fact that the Synod lived 

in English traditions as the ' contentious Synod ' of Chelsea. 3 Archbishop 

Jaenberht however must have given way, as the Legates received from 

Offa a grant of 365 mancus a year for the lighting of St. Peter's ; 4 while in 

due course a Pall came from Rome for OrTa's protege Bishop Higberht, 

who thenceforward for some thirteen years ruled the See of Lichfield as 

its first and last Archbishop. 5 

Frankish envoys had accompanied the Legates in their journey to England. 
Karl took a keen if not altogether an unselfish interest in the affairs of 

Relations Britain. He was doubtless anxious that the island should not 
with Charle- become a harbour for political exiles ; he might be afraid of 
magne. SU pp 0r t to his great enemies, the continental Saxons, cousins 
of the English ; possibly he hoped to include Britain in his empire. At 
any rate he lost no opportunity of bringing Englishmen of influence into 
personal relations with himself. With Northumbria friendly intercourse 
had been established by his father Pepin. After Pepin's death we find the 
Northumbrian King Alchred and his Queen Osgeofu writing to the Arch- 
bishop of Mentz, Lullus, successor to Boniface, to bespeak his good offices 
on behalf of an embassy going to the court of ' the most glorious King 
Carl.' 6 A close correspondence with Northumbria was kept up by Karl 
all his days, mainly through his literary secretary, the celebrated Alcuin or 

1 Sym. 

2 See the Legates' report to Adrian, with a copy of the decrees, H. & S., III. 
447-459. Bishops are required to visit their sees once, to hold synods twice, in each year, 
Regulations are given for the due election and hallowing of kings ; tithes are to be paid ; 
usury is forbidden, so are all pagan rites, including tattooing and the eating of horseflesh. 

3 " Geflitfullic senoth." All the versions of the A.S. Chronicle, with Florence and 
Henry of Hunt., give the year as 785, but it is clear that the Chelsea Synod took place 
after that at Finchale in September, 787. 

4 See the letter of Leo III. to "Kenulfus," Ceolwulf of Mercia, Offa's successor, 
reminding him of the benefaction. H. & S., III. 445. The mancus or quarter mark was 
worth thirty pennies, eight going to the pound of silver. Schmid, Gesetze, 593. 

5 Higberht had been Bishop of Lichfield since 779. In 788 he signs one charter as 
Bishop, another as Archbishop, so that clearly he received the pall in the course of that 
year. H. & S., 446. In 801 he resigned and retired to an Abbey. 

6 A.D. 771-774. H. & S., III. 434, from Epp. S. Bonifac, ed. Jaffe. 

a.d. 786-794] AND KARL THE GREAT 217 

Alchwine, the pride of the school of York. Further North still we are 
told he had the Scottish (qy. Pictish ?) kings regularly in his pay. 1 

In Wessex after 786 when Cynewulf fell, assassinated by Cyneheard — 
brother of the deposed Sigeberht — and Beorhtric succeeded, some trouble 
seems to have been given by young Ecgberht, whose father Ealmund had 
been, and perhaps still was, reigning in Kent. 2 Beorhtric expelled Ecg- 
berht, probably through the help of Offa, whose daughter Eadburh he 
subsequently married. 3 But Ecgberht at once found a refuge at the 
Frankish Court. 

In 790 we hear of a breach between Karl and OrTa, commercial inter- 
course cut off, and war expected. 4 If we can trust a tradition preserved in 
the Abbey of Fontanelle, Karl's ire had been excited by the presumption 
of OrTa, who met an application for the hand of one of his daughters for 
the younger Karl, by a counter-demand for the hand of Karl's daughter 
Bertha for his own son Ecgferth. 5 Peace however was not broken ; 6 and 
two years later we find Karl corresponding with the English 

Bishops Bishops on the subject of the decrees of the second Council of 
Nicsea (a.d. 787) ; and obtaining from them, through Alcuin, a 
declaration in support of his own views against Image Worship. 7 Two 
years later again (794) we are told that 'British' (sic) Bishops attended 
a council of the Frankish clergy convened at Frankfort by Karl to con- 
demn Image Worship and the 'Adoptionist' heresy of the Spanish Bishops 
Elipandus and Felix. 8 

In this same year, probably, Offa committed the act which has left on 

his memory " its one great stain " ; namely the execution of iEthelberht, 

iEthelb ht k m § °f East Anglia, presumably 'for insubordination. 9 Later 

of East legend sought to blacken the deed by introducing charges of 

ngia " treachery and breach of hospitality, with a set-off throwing 

the whole responsibility on Queen Cynethrith. 10 The fact of the execution 

1 Eginhart, Vita Caroli, c. 16. Conf. the letter of Alcuin to Offa, H. & S., III. 498, 
and that of Karl to Offa, requesting him to forward a delinquent Scottish priest to his 
own country, there to be duly tried, Id., 486. 

2 Birch, Cart. Sax., I. p. 337. a.d. 784. Ealmund the king disappears from this 
time, but we have an " Ealmund abbas " attesting charters. 

3 Probably in 789, though the event is recorded by the Chronicles under 787. Eadburh 
signs as "Virgo" in 787, but the charter is doubtful. H. & S., III. 463. 

4 See the contemporary letter of Alcuin to the Scot Colcu. Epp. No. 3 (Migne, 
vol. 100, col. 103). 

5 So the Life of Abbot Gerwold, collector of customs at "Quintawich," (Etaples) in 
the time of Offa ; Pertz, Mon. Germ. Hist., II. 291. Karl was peculiar in his treatment 
of his daughters, none of whom he ever allowed to marry. Eginhart, Vita Caroli, c. 19. 

6 The grant made by Offa in this year (790) to the Abbey of St. Denis may have been 
an eirenikon. Birch, Cart. Sax., I. 360 (12th April). 7 H. & S., III. 468. 

8 H. & S., III. 481. 9 Chron., a.d. 792 ; Flor., a.d. 793. 

10 So the Vita Offa II., attributed on slender grounds to Matthew Paris, and printed 
by Wats with the Historia Major. The composition however is of no historical value. 

218 EADBERHT PR^EN [a.d. 796 

however is not open to doubt ; and here again we find fugitives from the 
wrath of Offa, probably followers of ^thelberht, receiving shelter at the 
Frankish Court. 1 

Still more questionable, as touching his relations with Offa, appears to 
have been Karl's conduct in the matter of that mysterious personage in 
Kentish history, Eadberht surnamed " Pra^n." This man first 
^ram** a PP ears as an ' apostate ' priest, flying for his life from Britain. 
Karl, writing in answer to remonstrances from Offa, assures 
him that he had listened to no tales against him; but that as opinion 
seemed divided as to the merits of Eadberht's case he had sent him to 
Rome, to be judged by the Pope. 2 As a matter of fact Pope Leo III. 
had emphatically condemned Eadberht for resistance to his Archbishop. 8 
But immediately afterwards Eadberht returns to Kent, to enjoy for a short 
period the dignity of king. 4 A probable explanation suggests 
'that Eadberht was a troublesome ^Etheling, leader of a national 
Kentish party in opposition to the Mercian supremacy ; and that he had 
been tonsured to incapacitate him for rule. His ' apostacy ' therefore would 
consist in resistance to his spiritual superior, Archbishop ^Ethelheard, who 
was devoted to Offa. 5 It is certain that about this time ^Ethelheard was 
in great trouble, and inclined to throw up his office. 6 Eadberht's pro- 
ceedings may also be connected with the fact that Offa had apparently 
suppressed the Kentish monarchy, as, with numerous Kentish charters, we 
have no signature of a Kentish king from the year 784 till 801 ; only 
signatures of " principes" Ealmund the last recorded King having appar- 
ently retired to an abbey. 7 

Offa however died about this time ; 8 and Eadberht was left in peace for 
a couple of years. The suppression of the kings of Kent and of the 
under-kings of the Hwiccas, 9 proves that Offa had a policy 
"of centralisation, though he may not have risen to the con- 
ception of one united England. 

1 See the letter of Karl to Archbishop ^Ethelheard on their behalf, excusing them as 
having acted under the orders of their lord, one Urnhringstan, since dead. H. & S., III. 
487. Archbishop Jaenberht died in 791 ; ^Ethelheard was elected his successor, but 
was not consecrated till 793. H. & S., III. 403, 467. 

2 H. & S., III. 497. a.d. 796. 3 See his letter to Coenwulf, Id., 524. 

4 Chron., Flor., H. Hunt, (given as a.d. 494). 

5 See Stubbs' Life of Eadberht in Smith's Christian Biogr. H. & S., III. 496. 
Henry of Huntingdon asserts that Eadberht was a relation of Ecgberht and rightful 
king of Kent. a.d. 823. 

c See the letter of Alcuin dissuading him from his purpose. H. & S., 495. A.D. 796, 
also those Id., 509, 518. 

7 Birch, Cart. Sax., I. p. 355. A.D. 789. 

8 a.d. 796, 26th July (VII. Kal. Aug.), Symeon ; 29th July (IV. Kal. Aug.), Chron. 
E ; Flor. 

9 The last signature of a Hwiccan under-king (subregulus) is found Cod. Dip. No. 
146, a.d. 778-781. 

a.d. 796] THE NORTHMEN 219 

Offa was the traditional founder of St. Alban's Abbey, but the charters 

adduced as evidence, dated in 792 and 793, are not considered genuine. 1 

The Saxon ®^ a was a ^ so re P ute d the founder of the Saxon School 

school at at Rome, near St. Peter's. The institution was a hospital 

for the entertainment of English pilgrims, with a church and 

a burying ground attached to it. 2 It must have been as old as the time of 

Oifa, as it suffered from fire only a few years later. 3 Offa left a Code of 

Laws, " now unfortunately lost." His fondness for reading is attested by 

Alcuin ; his artistic taste is proved by the beauty of his coins, which stand 

quite alone ; the number and variety of the types is also remarkable. 4 

By Cynethyrth Offa had one son, Ecgferth, who succeeded him ; and 

four daughters, namely ^Ethelburh an abbess ; yEtbelfled married to 

^thelred of Northumbria (29th September, 792) ; Eadburh 

'married to Beorhtric of Wessex, probably in 789 ; 5 and 

^Ethelswith of whom nothing seems to be recorded. 

Three months before the death of Offa, his son-in-law, ^Ethelred of 
Northumbria, had fallen a victim to domestic faction. 6 His dismal reign 
had been marked by the first clearly recorded landing of the Northmen in 
Britain. In 793 they plundered the church at Lindisfarne. Next year 
they returned and plundered Jarrow, also a monastery at the mouth of the 
Don (the old Don ?). 7 These ravages made a deep impression, inspiring 
well-founded alarm for the future. 8 

After Offa came his son Ecgferth. To ensure his succession he had 

been ' hallowed to king ' in the lifetime of his father, in the ' contentious ' 

Synod of Chelsea, the first instance of the performance of this rite in 

England. But his reign lasted only 141 days. He died before the close 

of the year ; and then the crown of Mercia passed to a distant cousin, 

Ceonwuif Ceonwulf, representative of another branch of the house of 

King of Pybba. 9 After giving a year to the consolidation of his 

authority at home, Ceonwulf marched against the unfortunate 

1 Codex Dip. Nos. 161, 162. See H. & S., III. 469, 478. W. Malm., G.I?., I. 
p. 118. 

2 W. Malm., G.R., II. p. 153, ed. Hardy. See Lappenberg (Thorpe), I. p. 204. 

3 Chron. A, a.d. 816. 

4 See Ruding, Annals of Mint ; Hawkins, Silver Coins, etc. 

5 Cod. Dip. No. 151. Sym. D., a.d. 792. Chron., a.d. 787. 

6 18th April, 796, Sym. For Karl's indignation at the Northumbrians see a letter of 
Alcuin to Offa, H. & S., III. 498. ^Fthelred was killed for having put away his wife 
and taken another. So R. Wendover, a.d. 796. 

7 Symeon, Hist. Dnnelm., II. c. 5 ; Ann. Ulster. 

8 See the letters of Alcuin, H. & S., III. 472, 476, etc. According to the Ann. 
Camb. the Danes landed in Ireland in 795. Another letter of Alcuin of the year 797 
speaks of the ravages as continuing, Ii. & S., 510. 

9 I4th-i7th Dec, 796; Sym. ; Flor., Id., Gencal., M. H. B., 630. Apparently Offa 
and Ceonwulf jvvere descended from two brothers of Penda, all three being sons of 

220 EADBURH AND KARL [a.d. 796-803 

Eadberht Prsen, put out his eyes, and carried him off to Mercia, his ecclesi- 
astical character protecting him from capital punishment. 

Kent was then practically incorporated with Mercia, Ceonwulf, we are 
told, placing the crown of Kent on his head with his own hands. 1 But to 
indulge the feeling for local sovereignty he appointed his brother 
tion C of P Kent. Cuthred king of Kent. 2 The strength of local feeling among 
the English of the time may be gathered from the fact that 
down to the time of OrTa the Hwiccas of Worcestershire, though an integral 
part of Mercia from an early period, had been indulged with a regular 
succession of under-kings. 3 

In the matter of the Archbishopric of Lichfield Ceonwulf deliberately 
undid the work of Offa ; and that apparently from purely conscientious 
scruples. 4 In 801 Archbishop ^Ethelheard went to Rome with his ap- 
proval, and obtained from Leo III. a confirmation, or rather a re-grant of 
all the 'old' metropolitan rights of the See of Canterbury ; the privilege 
being so worded as to imply a distinct supremacy over all English 
churches, thus of course including York. 5 The Papal decree was formally 
accepted by a council held at Clovesho with Ceonwulf s consent, and there 
the Lichfield controversy ended. 6 

In 802 another of Offa's circle passed away, namely Beorhtric of 
Wessex 7 ; accidentally poisoned it was said by partaking of a cup pre- 
pared by his wife for another man. Eadburh is described as a 
EadburJ 11 jealous, ambitious woman, determined to rule, and unscrupu- 
lous in getting rid of rivals. She retired to the Frankish 
court. Asser tells us that at her presentation to the Emperor, he said, 
' Choose now, Eadburh, whether of us twain thou wilt have for husband, 
me or my son there ? ' Eadburh rather imprudently answered that if she 
might have her choice she would rather take the younger man. Karl 
answered with a scornful laugh, ' If thou hadst chosen me thou shouldst 
have had my son, but now thou shalt have neither me nor my son.' By 
way of a suitable provision she was appointed abbess of a nunnery. But 
her life there became a scandal, and she was expelled. " Her second fall 
was irretrievable," and she died a beggar in the streets of Pavia. 8 

Beorhtric having passed away, the /Etheling Ecgberht, who for thirteen 

1 a.d. 798, Symeon ; a.d. 796, Chron., Flor., H. Hunt. 

2 See Stubbs, C. B., I. 172. Cuthred signs in the year 805, calling it his eighth year. 
Cod. Dipl. No. 190. 

3 See the signatures to the charters in the Codex Dip. 

4 See his letter to Leo III. opening up the question. H. & S., III. 521, a.d. 798. 

5 18th Jany., 802 : " Omnes Anglorum secclesias sicut a priscis temporibus fuere, in 
perpetuum in ipsa tua metropolitana sede, per subjectionis cognitionem irrefragabili jure 
concedimus obtinendas." Archbishops as well as bishops are threatened with deposition 
if they resist. H. & S., 536. G 12th Oct., 803. H. & S., 542. 

7 Sym., H. R. (a.d. 800, Chron., Flor., H. Hunt.). 

8 Asser, M. H. B., 471, 472. These facts were apparently derived from King zElfred. 

a.d. 802-814] ECGBERHT KING OF WESSEX 22 r 

years 1 had been kept in exile, was then recalled and hailed King of 
Wessex. 2 The period of sojourn abroad had not been lost time to him. 
At the Frankish court he could profit by the store of learning which, 
gathered together in Northumbria by Biscop and Bseda, had by a strange 
reflux in the tide of civilization been carried back to Gaul by Alcuin. 
Still more might he profit by lessons in diplomacy and the art of ruling 
men under a centralized system. It may be doubted if any Anglo-Saxon 
born and bred could have risen to the conception of an England united 
even under the nominal suzerainty of one man. 

For some thirteen years however after the accession of Ecgberht we 
hear little of Wessex. About the year 806 another revolution broke out 

in Northumbria, Eardwulf being expelled, perhaps by clerical 
Northumbria m A uence J a ^ ter ten years' reign, when ^Elfvvold was raised to the 

throne. 3 The event may be noticed because it shows us once 

more the attention paid by the great Karl to English politics. Eardwulf 

joined the Emperor at Nimeguen in 808, went on to Rome, and returned 

home escorted by envoys from the Pope (Leo III.) and the Emperor. 

According to the Imperial annalist their intervention was successful. 4 

But our domestic writers know nothing of any restoration of Eardwulf. 

From our best authority on Northern affairs we gather that a compromise 

' J ,,. was effected, ^Elfwold being discarded, and Eanred, son of 
Eanred King. . ° . 

Eardwulf, raised to the throne, there to reign for three and 

thirty years. 5 The Pope's letters in connexion with these matters exhibit 
Karl as corresponding with the King of Mercia (Coenred) ; the Arch- 
bishop of York (Eanbald II.); and Wada, a turbulent Northern 'duke' 

In 814 or 815 Ecgberht first comes forward as a conqueror in the old 

„ Wessex style, drawing the sword against the West Welsh, the 
Advance of " 

Wessex. natural prey of the House of Cerdic. We are told that he 

1 The A. S. Chronicles (a.d. 836) give the exile as of " III " years' duration. But 
this must be read " XIII " years. Ecgberht, as already mentioned, was son of Ealmund, 
who had reigned in Kent (Chron. a.d. 784), and descended from Ingild, brother of 
Ine. Florence, Geneal., M. H. B., 633. Asser, Id., 468. 

2 Jan.-April, 802. The year is fixed by several charters. For the time of the year 
we have one {Cod. Dip. No. 236) which tells us that Easter day, 835 (18th April) fell in 
Ecgberht's 34th year. Symeon also gives the year as 802, the Chronicles, etc., as 800. 

3 Sym., Hist. Dunelm., II. c. 5 (p. 52) ; Chron. D and E. According to abetter £of 
Alcuin preserved in Leland, Coll., II. 398, the revolt against Eardwulf was occasioned by 
an act of adultery. H. & S., 564. 

4 a.d. 808 : Eginhart, Ann., Pertz, I. 195 ; extracted H. & S., III. 561. 

5 Sym., snp. 

6 H. & S., III. 562, 565, 567. Wada had taken the leading part against ^Ethelred in 
796 ; and again he was in opposition to Eardwulf, whom he fought (unsuccessfully) in 
798. Sym., in annis. 

222 DEVON ANNEXED [a.d. 814-825 

'harried' their land from Eastward to Westward. 1 The annexation of 
Devon probably dates from this time. 

Some ten years later we find Ecgberht at " Creodan treow," probably 
Crediton or some other place on the river Creedy, preparing to invade 
Cornwall (15th August, 825). 2 An action was fought at " Gaful-forda " — 
Camelford — in which the Cornishmen were defeated. 3 The power of the 
West Welsh was now for ever broken. " But the effectual conquests of the 
English stopped at the line of the Tamar." Beyond that the Cornishmen 
retained for centuries their Celtic tongue and a semi-independence. 

Down to this time the hostility of West Wales had hampered the men of 
Wessex in any advance against their English neighbours to the North. 4 

But just at the time when Wessex had been strengthened by 
A Mercia° f t ^ ie reduction of the South- Western peninsula, Mercia began to 

fall into difficulties. For five and twenty years Ceonwulf had 
wielded the sceptre of Offa with undiminished sway. East Anglia, Essex, 
Surrey, and Kent acknowledged his supremacy j but his hold on Kent 
may have been weakened by a quarrel of some years' duration with Arch- 
bishop Wulfred. 5 Wales on the other hand must have been reduced to 
the lowest ebb. Three petty kingdoms now divided the land — Gwynedd, 

Powys, and Dyfed (St. David's). All three were overrun by 
of parts of Ceonwulf, and Powys reduced to subjection. 6 Ceonwulf how- 
Wales. ever was g^hered to his fathers either late in 821 or early in 
822 7 ; and, according to church traditions was succeeded for a few months 
by his son, the boy-king Cenelm (St. Kenelm), who was said to have been 

' martyred/ i.e. assassinated, by the orders of his sister the 
Th C e B n °eS ng Abbess Cwenthryth (17th July? 8 22 ). 8 Be this as it may 

have been, by the month of September, 822, we find our- 

1 Chron., Flor., A.D. 813. They give this as the year of Archbishop Wulfred's return 
from a journey to Rome ; but that happened in 814. R. Wendover. 

2 See the charter, Codex Dip. No. 1033 ; Birch, Cart. Sax., I. p. 540. 

3 Chron., A.D. 823. The year however is clearly fixed by the charter above. 

4 Green, Making of E., 434. 

5 The cause of the quarrel is obscure ; the only point that comes out clearly is that 
there were lands in dispute between them, lands at Reculver and South Minster. See 
H. & S., III. 586. 

6 " In sua potestate traxerunt. " Ann. Camb., 816-822. Brut-y-T. In the north the 
'Saxons' invaded the 'Mountains of Ereri ' — i.e. Snowdon — and captured " Arcem 
Decantorum," otherwise Degannwy, now Tegannwy, near Llandudno. Rhys, C. £., 
258, etc. 

7 He signs in 821, as in his 25th year. Cod. Dip. Nos. 214, 1029. According to 
H. Hunt, he reigned 26 years. M. H. B., 735. 

8 Flor., a.d. 819. W. Malm., G. A\, I. p. 132. R. Wendover, A.D. 821. The 
last quotes an old couplet : "In clent coubethe Kenelm Kynebearn lith under thorne 
hsevedes bereaved." Latinc : " In pastura vaccarum Kenelmus regis Alius jacet sub spina 
capite privatus." The earlier writers do not mention Kenelm. The 17th July is his day 
in the Calendar. The couplet however by calling him "Kynebearn," king's son, 
negatives his having been king. For "clent" coubethe, I would read " clene "=a 
' fair ' meadow. 

a.d. 822-828] MERCIA SUBDUED 223 

selves on firm, historic ground, as about the 17th of that month Ceolwulf, 
c oiwulf Drotner °f Coenwulf, was hallowed King of Mercia. 1 At the 

end of a year or so however Ceolwulf was deposed in favour 

of one Beornwulf. 2 The new king lost no time in bringing the dispute 

Beornwulf between Archbishop Wulfred and the House of Coenwulf to 

an end, himself making sacrifices for the purpose. 3 That done 
he led the forces of Mercia to attack Ecgberht, just as he was returning 

from his victorious campaign in Cornwall. A pitched battle 
toyEcgberht. ensue d at a place called Ellendune or Ellandune. 4 The action 

was sanguinary, but it ended in the utter defeat of Beornwulf. 5 
Ecgberht at once seized the firstfruits of his victory by sending his son 
^Ethelwulf, duly escorted by an Ealdorman and a Bishop, to make sure 
of Kent. King Baldred, who, two years before, had been set up in 
opposition to Mercia, was quickly driven ' North over Thames.' 6 Surrey, 
Sussex and Essex submitted without a struggle. So seemingly ended the 
year 825. 

Encouraged by this collapse of Mercia, the East Angles, apparently in 
826, threw off the yoke; Beornwulf marched against them, to be defeated 

and killed. Not four full years had he reigned. 7 The 
C °Merc S ia. 0f Mercians however had not yet lost heart, and a fresh king, 

by name Ludecan, was set up (a.d. 827). 8 Ludecan reigned 
something more than a year, 9 and then succumbed to a coalition effected 
between Ecgberht and the East Angles. The fighting must have been 
severe, as we are told that five Ealdormen were killed, besides Ludecan. 10 
As a last effort Wiglaf was raised to the Mercian Throne, but he too was 
speedily chased away by Ecgberht. 11 

1 H. & S., III. 589. 

2 Chron., Flor., H. Hunt. (a.d. 821). Ceolwulf signs 26th'. May, 823. Birch., Cart. 
Sax., I. pp. 511, 512. Beornwulf signs in 825 as his 3rd year, Cod. Dip. No. 220. But 
he also signs in 822, Id. No. 1030. Perhaps he was a rival king at first. 

3 a.d. 825 : Cod. Dip. No. 220; H. & S., III. 596. 

4 Apparently somewhere on the Wilts Downs ; a charter associates Ellandune with 
Malmesbury, Charlton, and Wotton. C. D. No. 1048 ; H. & S., III. 631. 

5 a.d. 825, R. Wendover; a.d. 823, Chron., Flor., H. Hunt. These writers how- 
ever agree in placing the battle after that at Gafulforda. Huntingdon here again seems 
to translate a scrap of an old ballad, " Ellendune rivus cruore rubuit, etc." 

6 Chron., Flor., Hunt. (a.d. 823). Baldred had set himself up in 823. Cod. Dipt. 
No. 240; Stubbs, Const. Hist, I. 235. Before him we have a Sigred, or Sigered, 
attesting Kentish charters sometimes as "Rex," sometimes as " Subregulus," under the 
Mercian kings, a.d. 811-823. Cod. Dipt. Nos. 196, 198; Birch, Cart. Sax., I. pp. 
475, 511. In the act of flight Baldred made a grant of Mailing to Archbishop Wulfred, 
as if to secure him. Cod. Dipl. No. 240. 

7 R. Wend., a.d. 823, 826 (Chron., etc., a.d. 823). 

8 H. Hunt. Wendover places the accession of Ludecan in 826, making it the year of 
the election of Pope Eugenius II. ; but this should be 827. 

9 W. Malm., G. R., II. p. 132. 10 a.d. 828, Wendover ; Chron. (a.d. 825). 
11 a.d. 828, Wendover; a.d. 825, Chron., etc. 

224 ECGBERHT SUPREME [a.d. 828-830 

The defeat of Mercia in a fair trial of strength with Wessex seems 
strange considering the extent and seeming compactness of her territory. 
The result must in part be ascribed to the personal talents of Ecgberht. 
But we must also bear in mind that Mercia was a federation of five distinct 
folks, separated by forests and rivers, as we have seen. It has been 
pointed out that Mercia had no real capital, such as Winchester or York. 
" Tamworth was simply a royal vill at which the Mercian kings dwelt more 
frequently than elsewhere." x The crown was the only real link, and the 
crown in the hour of trial had fallen into weak hands. 

Ecg-bert Next y ear (829) 2 Ecgberht made a progress through Mercia 

Lord of as its acknowledged lord. But he was not disposed to rest 
there : a challenge was forwarded to Northumbria. 

Eanred had sat on the throne for one and twenty years — a long period 
for the Northern kingdom. But Northumbria, distressed by piratical 
landings of Northmen, and enfeebled by fifty years of previous discord, 
had no heart for a struggle with the triumphant Lord of Wessex. Eanred 
came to Dore, in Derbyshire, on the borders of Mercia and 
North wales Northumbria, and there formally accepted the supremacy of 
Ecgberht. 3 Finally in 830 Ecgberht led an army against the 
North Welsh, and ' did them to humble submission.' 4 

His supremacy in some form or another was now recognised by every 
race and people from the Esk, possibly from the Forth, to the Land's End, 
except the Strathclyde Britons and probably the "Galloway Picts. 5 But 
the supremacy was a mere suzerainty, a step we might say in the right 
direction, but only a step. Eanred remained king of Northumbria ; and 
Wiglaf was restored to Mercia in this same year. 6 The Royal House of 
East Anglia was not interfered with. Kent was the only kingdom that 
Ecgberht attempted to incorporate. From this time onwards his style is 
that of ' King of the West Saxons and of Kent.' But even in this annexed 

1 Green, Conquest of 'England, 45. 

2 In the A. S. Chronicles the year is given as that following an eclipse of the moon, 
which happened on * mid -winter's mass night,' i.e. Christmas Day, in the year 827, as 
they thought. But the eclipse in question happened 25th December, 828. Wendover 
gives the right year. 

3 a.d. 829 ; R. Wendover, a.d. 827 ; Chron. ; Flor. Here the A. S. Chronicles dub 
Ecgberht ' the eighth Bretwalda,' a title apparently extemporised by the compiler of the 
Winchester Chronicle {circa 887), and copied by the other Chronicles and those who 
copied them. The previous seven * Bretwaldas' were the kings who, according to Breda, 
had held the most extensive rule before his time, a list already criticised ; but the title 
is not found in him. 

4 R. Wend., a.d. 830. Chron., etc., A.D. 828. The year is fixed as being that of 
Wiglaf s restoration : below. 

5 The last undoubted Bishop of Whithern of the Anglian succession was Badulf or 
Baldwulf or Bealdwulf, who does not appear to have lived after 803. H. & S., II. 7. 

6 In August-September, 831, Wiglaf signs as in the first year of his restoration ; in 836 
as in his seventh year. Cod. Dipt. Nos. 227, 237 ; Birch, C. S., I. 550, 581. 

a.d. 830] A NOMINAL SUPREMACY 225 

kingdom the tradition of local sovereignty was humoured by the appoint- 
ment of Ecgberht's son ^Ethelwulf as king of Kent. 1 

But however desirable a consummation the union of England under one 
head might seem to be, in point of tima and circumstance Ecgberht's 
efforts in that direction must be pronounced unfortunate. The piratical 
descents on the British coasts, to which we have already alluded, were 
beginning to assume alarming proportions. The crying need of the time 
was resistance to foreign invasion. But here were the English fighting 
among themselves. Ecgberht's nominal suzerainty could not establish 
any machinery for central action, while in the vassal states action would 
certainly be hampered. 


Murder of Cynewulf 

The circumstances attending the death of Cynewulf are celebrated as an illustration of 
the devotion of an Anglo-Saxon vassal to his lord. 

About the year 755 Cynewulf had ousted Sigeberht from the throne of Wessex, and 
eventually caused him to be assassinated when in exile in Sussex. Sigeberht left a 
brother, Cyneheard, whose life was certainly spared by Cynewulf. Thirty- one years 
after the death of Sigeberht (a.d. 786) Cyneheard began to give trouble, and was placed 
under a decree of banishment. Having heard that the king would spend a certain night 
at the house of a lady at "Merantune" (Merton in Surrey) he surrounded the place 
in the dark, and, entering the courtyard without opposition, succeeded in killing the 
king in the lady's ' bower ' {bur), a detached building, before the king's guard in the 
principal hall could come to the rescue. The king's men were not a match for Cyne- 
heard's band, but they refused to accept of their lives at his hands, and insisted on 
fighting it out in the vain hope of avenging their lord, till all were destroyed, except one 
man, a Welsh hostage, who happened to be in their hands. Cyneheard however had 
thus been kept at bay, and was obliged to remain in the place to abide the attack 
of the king's thegns, who soon came up in force, when the curtilage was stormed and he 
and his put to the sword, all offers of compromise being again refused. 2 


(Ealchwine ? Ealhwine, Ealwine, Alchwin) 

Alcuin was born about the year 735 ; a man of family and property, in fact the head 
of the House which had given to the world St. Willibrord the apostle of the Frisians. 
He was brought up at the school of York under Archbishop Ecgberht and iEthelberht 
" Coena" who succeeded him. Alcuin was tonsured at an early age, but did not take 
deacon's Orders till after 767. Before the year 780 he had been twice to Rome. He 
went thither for the third time in 7S0 for Archbishop Eanbert's Pall. On his way 
home he met the great Karl at Parma, at Easter, 781, and was pressed to abandon 
England and join the Frankish court. Alcuin eventually did so, namely about 782, and 
remained for eight years a member of Karl's Household in charge of the Palatine 
School which followed the court. He was also active with his pen compiling books, 
chiefly educational, and organizing schools. In 790 he paid a visit to Northumbria, 
returning to Gaul in 792 to take up the cause of orthodoxy as against the Adoptionist 
heresy of Felix and Elipandus, and also to deal with the question of Image worship. 
He took a leading part in the Council of Frankfort in 794. In 796 he retired from 
Court to the Monastery of St. Martin at Tours, of which he had been made abbot, 

1 Cod. Dipt. Nos. 224, 234, etc. Once and once only Ecgberht signs as "Rex 
Anglorum," a.d. 828 (given as 823). Id. No. 223. 

2 See the account in Chron. A copied by all the others ; also Mr. Earle's note in his 
Parallel Chronicles. 

R. H. Q 



though he himself never took the vows " of a true monk." His position in this respect 
made him " a bone of contention " between the rival orders of monks and canons. He 
died at Tours 19th May, 804. For posterity his letters were his most valuable com- 
positions. In his correspondence with his literary circle he used to sign himself " Flaccus 
A Ibinus" the Emperor taking the name of "David," etc. 1 


Archbishops of Canterbury and Kings of Wessex, Mercia, and Northumbrian 
a.d. 690-802. 


— 19 Sept. 
693, 29 June 







731, J an - 
id., June 

734, July 


Archbishops of 

Death Theodore 

Kings of Wessex. 


Death Bercht- 

Tatwin Conse- 

Death Tatwin 

Nothelm Con- 

Abdication of 
Ine. yEthel- 
heard (kins- 
man) King 

Kings of Mercia. 


Abdication of 
/Ethelred ; his 
nephew, Coen- 
red, son of 
Wulf here, King 

Abdication of 
Coenred ; his 
cousin Ceol- 
red, son of 

Death of Ceol- 
red. ^Ethel- 
bald (distant 
cousin) King 

Kings of 


Death of Eald- 
frith ; his son 
Osred King 

Murder of Osred. 
Coenred (dis- 
tant cousin) 

Death Coenred. 
Osric King 

Death of Osric, 
Ceolwulf, bro- 
ther of late 
Coenred, King 

Resignation of 
Ceolwulf. Ead 
berht (cousin) 
King, son of 
Eata, uncle of 
Sym. , Hist. 
£>., II. c. 3 

1 See Bishop Stubbs' Article in Smith's Christian Biographies. 




Archbishops of 

Kings of Wessex. 

Kings of Mercia. 

Kings of 


Death Nothelm, 
17 Oct. 

Death ^Ethel- 
heard. Cuth- 
red, brother, 


Cuthbert, Arch- 
bishop (Trans- 


Death Cuthred. 
deposed; Cyne- 
wulf King 


.Ethelbald as- 
Beornred King 
killed by Offa. 
Offa King 


Death of Cuth- 
bert. Bre- 
gowine Arch- 

Abdication of 
Eadberht. Son 
Oswulf King 


24 July, Oswulf 
by his house- 
hold. 3 Aug., 
Moll King. 
(A.D. 759, 
Sym., Hist. 
Keg. A.D. 760, 
Id, Hist. 
Ditnelm. , 

765, Aug. 24- 

Death of Brego- 

30 Oct., Death 

Sept. 1 


of /Ethelwald 
Moll. Alchred 
(cousin) King 

766, 2 Feb. 

Jaenberht Arch- 


Alchred deposed. 
^Ethelred, son 
of ^Ethelwald 
Moll, King 


.Ethelred de- 
posed. Elf- 
waid, brother 
to Alchred, 


Cynewulf assas- 
sinated. Be- 

788, 23 Sept. 

| orhtric King 

Elfwald assas- 
sinated. Osred 
(son of Alchred 
deposed in 774) 


Osred deposed 
and expelled. 
.Ethelred, de- 
posed in 779, 
again King 




Archbishops of 

Kings of Wessex. 

Kings of Mercia. 

Kings of 

791, 12 Aug. 

Death of Jaen- 
berht. ^Ethel- 
heard Arch- 
bishop (Con- 
secrated 21 

July, 793) 


Execution of 
Osred, at- 
tempting to 
return from 


First Landing 
of Danes. 
Sack of Lindis- 

796, 18 April 

Assassination of 
^Ethelred. Os- 
bald King 27 
days. Then ex- 
pelled. Eard- 
wulf, son of 
King (Symeon, 
Hist. Dunelm. , 
II. c. 5. 

— 26 or 29 

Death of Offa. 


Son Ecgferth, 
King 141 days 

— Dec. 14 or 

Death of Ecg- 


ferth. Coen- 
wulf King 


Death of Beorh- 
tric. Ecgberht 



Norse and Danish Invasions— .Ethelwulf, King of Wessex and Kent— ^Fthelbald — 
^Ethelberht— ^Ethelred I— Fall of English Kingdoms of East Anglia and North- 

CONQUERING Wessex had now her own troubles in store for her. 
Even under Ecgberht her resources were sorely taxed to stem the 
new tide of invasion. The movement was in fact but a repetition or 
revival of that by which Celtic Britain had been converted into 
immds! Saxon England. The same stages are traceable in each pro- 
cess. First we have desultory plundering inroads j then terri- 
torial settlements; and lastly political wars for supremacy among the 
settlers. 1 Our conception of the earlier settlement may thus be fairly filled 
up by the fuller view we get of the details of the later one. The English 
had now to suffer at the hands of their barbaric cousins some of the 
miseries that they had inflicted on the Romanized Britons. The new- 
comers were known by different names in different countries. Their own 
term " Wicking " or " Vicking," meaning ' Baymen,' was used to denote 
private expeditions, 2 as distinguished from national armaments. In 
Tn w k' «>■ England they were called Danes; in Ireland Ostmen; on the 
Continent Northmen ; but they were all of the Scandinavian 
branch of the Teutonic race, and so of near kin to the Low-German Angles 
and Saxons. By a curious coincidence the first to land in Britain would 
seem to have come from Jutland, 3 now become Scandinavian territory. 

The life and institutions of these Northmen were simply those brought 
by the Anglo-Saxons into Britain. Eor/, Ceorl t and Theoiv appear as Jar/, 
Car/, and Thratt; the Northern Thing is the English Gemote Our sketch 
of Anglo-Saxon mythology had to be filled up by references to Scandinavian 
lore. The difference in civilization between the two peoples in the 9th 

^Freeman, N. C, I. 12, 43. 

2 This is the received interpretation. I feel inclined to connect the name with the 
real headquarters of Norse expeditions, the great Wick or Bay of Christiania, the 
district round the head of the fiord being also known as Wick. 

3 The Worcester and Peterborough Chronicles (D and E) recording an alleged first 
landing of Danes in the year 787 (a doubtful statement), describe them as " Northmanna 
of Hcerethalande." This is identified with Hard eland or Hai-desyssel in Jutland ; Green, 
Conquest of England, p. 50, citing Munch, Norske FoWs Historic The Danes proper 
are said not to have come into action in Britain until a century later. 

4 e.g. the Danish " husthing " (whence hustings) is exactly the A.S. " hallmote." 


2 3 o THE NORTHMEN IN GREAT BRITAIN [a.d. 787-832 

century is the measure of the progress made by the Anglo-Saxons since 
their settlement in Britain ; the difference being mainly due to the intro- 
duction of Christianity among the latter, the former being still pagans. 1 

The causes that would impel a hardy population, pent up among rocks 
and woods, fiords and lakes, to push their fortunes elsewhere are not far to 
seek. But the coincidence between the outbreak of these naval enterprises 
and the reduction of the continental Saxons by the great Karl can hardly 
be considered accidental. It would seem that a barrier having been set 
up against migrations by land, the superfluous population of the North was 
forced to take to the sea. At the very height of Karl's power their 
piratical ravages on the coasts of Frisia and Gaul had excited his most 
anxious attention. 2 

As already mentioned, the first unquestionable appearance of these 
Northmen in Britain was at Lindisfarne in 793. But according to our 
ideas of the route from Scandinavia to the Northumbrian coast, 
Britain. as a ^ rea -dy pointed out, a landing at Lindisfarne would imply 
prior appearances on the East Anglian and Kentish sea-boards. 
In fact the Winchester Chronicle does record an earlier landing, namely in 
the year 787 ; but as no locality is indicated, the statement has been 
thought to require confirmation. Two distinct streams of invasion may be 
traced as breaking upon our shores, the one old the other new. The new 
tide flowed from Norway across to the Shetlands, and thence turning south- 
wards moved by the Western Islands to Ireland and the extreme south of 
Great Britain, where it seemed to die out. The other wave, following the 
course of the old Anglo-Saxon fleets, flowed along the Frisian and Flemish 
coasts down to the Channel. From thence the adventurers might either 
cross over to Kent, or else sail on along the coast of Gaul to Aquitaine, 
Spain, and the Mediterranean. 3 The northern route, of course, would be 
that of the Norsemen, styled by the Irish the " Fingall," or 
smdDSes. ' White Strangers.' The southern course would be that of the 
Danes, distinguished by the Irish as the " Dubgall," or ' Black 
Strangers.' The darker complexion thus attributed to the Danes seems to 
suggest a Slavonic element in their forces. Ireland was reached in 795, 
only two years after Lindisfarne. 4 The landing at Lindisfarne, in our 
view, implies prior visitations of the East Anglian coast, districts entirely 
wanting in historical records. During the ensuing five and twenty years 
the invaders are heard of on all parts of the Irish coast ; while 
^"rtiand* about the y ear 8 3 2 one " Tur g eis >'*' or Thorkil, established him- 
self as King in the North of Ireland, with his capital at Armagh. 5 

1 For a brilliant sketch of Northern life and feeling see chap II. of Mr. Green's Con- 
quest of England. 2 See Id., p. 62. 

3 Compare Green, Conquest of England, 62, and the map there. 

4 Ann. Camb. Iona was ravaged in 802 and 806. Norse fleets, however, may also 
have moved southwards from the Shetlands down our East Coast. 

5 See Dr. J. H. Todd's Introduction to the Wars of the Gaedhill and Gail, xxxv.-xliv. 

a.d. $33-839] AND IRELAND 231 

Thus in Ireland, where resistance was the weakest, the stage of territorial 

occupation had already been reached. In 833 a party landed in Sheppey 

Landings on (^ cea P^ e ) with five and twenty ships, and ravaged the island. 

the South These men were probably some of the marauders heard of in 

Frisia during the preceding years. In 834 Ecgberht had to 
fight five and thirty ' shiploads ' * at Carrum — Charmouth in Dorsetshire — 
and was practically defeated, the enemy remaining masters of the field. 
Two bishops were numbered among the dead. As the invading vessels 
of the period appear to have carried some thirty-five men apiece, these 
two forces might be estimated, say, the one at eight hundred to nine 
hundred men strong, and the other at some twelve hundred men strong. 2 
Again a year later a great armament came over to Cornwall, and, in concert 
with the natives, attacked the English. The allies, however, were signally 
defeated by Ecgberht at " Hengest dune," Hingston Down in Cornwall. 3 
The pirates in this case probably had their basis of operations in Ireland. 
That the Irish Wickings had reached the English coasts by this time is 
proved by the discovery made at Delgany, in Wickiow, in 1874, of a hoard 
of Anglo-Saxon coins, mostly Kentish, and the latest being of the time of 
Beornwulf (823-826). 4 

The victory at Hingston secured peace during the rest of Ecgberht's 
days. He passed away August-Nov. 839. 5 

One of Ecgberht's last acts was to seal a formal bond of alliance between 
his House and the Church of Canterbury, through Archbishop Ceolnoth, 

successor to Wulfred. The king confirmed a doubtful grant 
Ecgberht °f Mailing made by King Baldred at the time of his downfall, 

and received in return a promise of ' firm and unshaken friend- 
ship for ever.' Ecgberht again for himself promised ' perpetual peace and 
protection to the church. 6 A similar compact was made with the See ot 
Winchester at the same time. 7 These curious transactions reveal the weak- 
ness of the nominal overlord of Great Britain, and the local strength of the 
clergy. Of the revolutions in Northumbria we have seen reason to suspect 

(Rolls Series). Limerick, properly Luimnech, appears to have been founded by the 
Northmen about this time ; Dublin, 838-842 ; Id., lxxviii. Waterford and Cork were 
" pirate settlements " of the next century. 

1 " Scip-hlaesta," i.e. of men. 

2 For the Northern vessels see Appendix A to chapter XV. 

3 R. Wend.; Chron. ; Flor. ; W. Malm., G. R., II. p. 149. The dates are taken 
from the first of these. Hingston is 9 or 10 miles S.W. of Tavistock. 

4 J. Evans, Academy, 8th July, 1882. 

5 As shewn above, Ecgberht came to the throne in the year 802, and before the 18th 
April. The authorities agree that he reigned 37 years and 7 months. He was alive 
19th Nov., 838; Birch, Cart. Sax., I. p. 585. /Ethel wulf was king before the end of 
839 ; Id. , p. 590. 

G Kingston-on-Thames, A.D. 838 ; Cod. Dip. No. 240; Birch, Cart. Sax., I. p. 592. 
7 Birch, p. 593 ; H. & S., III. 619. 

232 jETHELWULF [a.d. 839-840 

that more than one was due to clerical influence. The kings had heaped 
grants and immunities upon the clergy till the power of the Church rivalled 
their own. Perhaps a the kings looked to the bishops as a counterpoise to 
the lay landed aristocracy. At any rate we may point out that the legis- 
lation of the Anglo-Saxon kings took upon itself the burden of enforcing 
not only payment of church dues, but also regard for church ordinances 
in matters of pure religion and morality, down to points that might be 
considered mere "counsels of perfection," such as abstinence from flesh on 
fast-days. 1 On the other hand, the clergy were becoming more and more 
secularized from interference in secular matters, while monasticism had 
almost died out. 

At the death of Ecgberht his son ^Ethelvvulf at once became king of 

the West Saxons and of Kent 2 ; of the transient supremacy over the 

. . lf other English states conceded to his father we hear no more. 3 

Wessex alone was more than zEthelwulf had energy to rule. 
But in making over Kent to his eldest son ^Ethelstan he was only 
following his father's example and the custom of the times. 4 ^Ethelwulf 
was doubtless a charitable, well-meaning man, but a most incompetent 
king. With Norse invasions pouring on the coasts of Britain the king's 

thoughts were engrossed with pilgrimages to Rome, remissions 
incapacity, of taxation 5 ; and pauperising grants for the support of the 

idle poor. The man who might have been expected to take 
a lead in organising measures for the defence of all England was unable 
to devise anything for his own immediate kingdom ; or even to take the 
field in person, except under extraordinary circumstances. Yet he 
certainly had one very capable adviser in Ealhstan Bishop of Sherborne, the 
man who had "acted as his general" in Kent in 825 ; and who, we are 
told, laboured strenuously to bring the king to act. But ^Ethelwulf had 
also another and probably a more congenial adviser in Swithun, said to 
have been his tutor, 6 and afterwards Bishop of Winchester, a man whose 

1 See the Laws oj Ine, as noticed above, and those of Wihtned of Kent, cc. 14, 15 ; 

2 " Gratia Dei rex Occidentalium Saxonum seu etiam Cantuariorum " ; Birch, Cart. 
Sax., II. p. 17. yEthelwulf signs as king in 839 ; Id., I. 590. 

3 Malmesbury notices the fact " avito West-Saxonum regno contentus," etc., G. R., 
II. p. 150 ; conf. 277. Only one Mercian charter subsequent to this time receives 
confirmation from a Wessex king, and that was a grant by Queen /Ethelswyth out of her 
private estates to which the consent of her brothers (/Ethelred and ^Elfred) might well 
be thought desirable, as well as that of her husband (Burgred) ; Cod. Dip. No. 298. 

4 Chron. A and C ; Cod. Dip. Nos. 252, 256; Asser, M.H.B., 469. That ^Ethelstan 
was not brother to yEthelvvulf, as alleged by Chronicles D and E, but son, is also clear 
from .Ethel weard, M.H.B., 511, 514, the best authority on Royal family history. 

5 See the preamble to his charter of the 5th November, 844 ; Cod. Dip/. No. 1048. 
He proposes remission of taxation as a " remedium " for the devastation of the country. 

G So Florence, A.D. 827. 

a.d. 841-851] THE INCAPABLE 233 

saintly virtues gained him a place in the Calendar. 1 His thoughts, we 
are told, were more in Heaven than on earth. 2 

Anyhow, ^Ethelwulf would not act, and so each district was left to its 

own ealdorman and its own bishop. Thus in the year following the 

king's accession we hear of the ealdorman Wulfheard fighting 

AssaStf l ^ e ' l° a d s ' °f thirty-five pirate vessels at Southampton ; 
while ^Ethelhelm dux of the Dornsatas engaged another force 
at "Port," i.e., Portland. yEthelhelm fell on the field; Wulfheard died 
soon after, presumably of wounds. 3 

In the following year a torrent of invasion burst on the East coast, 
Mercia now coming in for it. The Ealdorman Herebryht fell in the Fen 
district (" on Mersewarum "), while reverses are acknowledged in Lindsey, 
East Anglia, and Kent. 4 Next year again London and Rochester were 
sacked; also on the other side of the Channel "Cwantawic" or Etaples. 

For some five years our annals are a blank, indicating we must hope a 

lull in the storm ; but about 848 (?) we hear that Eanulf the Ealdorman 

of the Sumorsaetas, and stout Bishop Ealhstan, and Osric Ealdorman of 

the Dornsaetas gained a victory at " Pedridanmutha " — Parret-mouth. G 

After another blank interval we note a distinct step in the downward 

process when the c heathen ' first ventured to winter in England, 

the Thames' 1 establishing themselves in the Island of Sheppey ; just as the 

Jutes had first established themselves in Thanet. 7 

This apparently happened in the winter of 850-851 ; at any rate in 851 
we have a great armament of 350 ships sailing up the Thames, and, with 
their basis of operations in Sheppey, • breaking ' Canterbury and London. 
Beorhtwulf of Mercia who had come to the rescue was routed and driven 
off. 8 The invaders then crossed the Thames into Surrey, as if to 

1 See W. Malm., G. R., s. 10S. He distinctly asserts that whatever was done was 
done by one or other of these two. " Obsistebat tamen semper airumpnis consiliariorum 
regis vivacitas ... hi videntes regem crassioris et hebetis ingenii," etc. 

2 " Swithenus in terrenis nauseans regem ad ccelestia informabat " ; W. Malm., sup. 

3 A.D. 840? Chron. ; Flor. ; H. Hunt, (all under 837). 

4 a.d. 841? Id. (a.d. 838). 

5 a.d. 842 ? " Cwantawic," Chron. A and the Canterbury Chron. (MS. Tiberius A 
VI.); "Cantwic," D and E ; " Cantwarabyrig," C (all a.d. 839). The reading 
Cwantawic is not only the best supported by the MSS., but it is also confirmed by the 
fact that the sack of Etaples in 842 is recorded by foreign annals ; Ann. Bertin. 
Bouquet, VII. 61, Thorpe. This again will support our date. 

6 Chron., Flor., H. Hunt, (all a.d. 845). 

7 Asser, Flor., Chron., a.d. 851. The Winchester Chronicle does not name the 
wintering place : the other Chronicles name Thanet ; but Asser is very explicit in his 
description of Sheppey. He appears here to reproduce a lost original common to 
himself and the Winchester Chronicle, only he gives it more accurately than the 
chronicler does. The chronology of our authorities recovers itself apparently from the 
year 849. 

8 For the succession Mercian and Northumbrian kings after 803 see Appendix to this 

234 ROYAL PILGRIMAGES [a.d. 851-855 

penetrate the heart of Wessex. Then at last iEthelwulf appeared in the 

field, 1 with his second son zEthelbald to support him. They met the 

invaders at " Aclea," Ockley, and after a severe fight gained a signal 

victory. 'And there was made the greatest slaughter of the 

A Vict<fry! h heatnen tnat we have heard tell of up to the present day.' 

This success was followed up by the capture of six ships at 

Sandwich by zEthelstan, the under-king of Kent. 2 

The result of the campaign would indicate that the Wessex "fyrd" if 
properly mustered and led, was still a match for any invading " here." 3 

In 852 Beorhtwulf the King of Mercia died, Burgred succeeding. 1 

In the ensuing spring he married ./Ethelswyth, the daughter of 

iEthelwulf 5 ; and the latter, to please his son-in-law, marched with him 

to harry the North Welsh. This might suit Mercia. But so far as the 

interests of Wessex were concerned no justification could be offered for 

such a waste of energy. At this very time, we hear that the ealdormen 

both of Kent and Surrey fell while attempting to rid Thanet of invaders. 6 

The king also, in the course of this same year, managed to send his 

youngest and favourite son /Elfred to Rome. The boy, as we shall see, 

may have been about ten years old at the time. 7 Our 

jEif 0U d S t domestic writers tell us that Pope Leo IV. 'hallowed' the 

Rome. young ^Etheling f to king, and to bishop-son took him.' 8 

A letter from the Pope himself to ^Ethelwulf informs us 

more exactly that he had invested yElfred ' as his spiritual son with the girdle 

and vestments of the Roman consulship.' 9 We may fairly suppose that 

the Pope confirmed Alfred. " If there was confirmation 

Honours con- there would be unction " ; and so it may be that when Alfred 

ferr nim P ° n came t0 tne tnrone > tms unction, and the honorary investiture 

with the insignia of consulship, were regarded by the English, 

"perhaps by yElfred himself," as "an anticipation," of his coronation. 10 

At the opening of the year 855 we again hear of a large heathen force 
wintering in Sheppey. Yet this was the happy juncture chosen by 
^Ethelwulf for executing his long-cherished purpose of making out his 

1 In 840 the Chronicle make /Ethelwulf fight 35 ships at " Carum " ; but the entry 
seems a mere repetition of that of 833. 2 Asser, Flor., Chron. 

3 The Chronicles are very consistent in the use of these terms : the native force is 
always a " fyrd " ; the invading force a "here." 

4 Flor. ; Cod. Dip. No. 267. 

5 At Chippenham, after Easter, 853. 

Asser, Flor., Chron. 7 See below under his reign. 

8 " Unxit in regem et in filium adoptionis confirmavit." Asser. "To cyninge gehalgode 
ond . . . to biscepsuna nam." Chron. A. 

9 " Filium vestrum . . . quasi spiritualem filium consulatus cingulo, honore, 
vestirnentisque, ut mos est Romanis consulibus, decoravimus." B.M., MS. Additional 
8873, No, 31 ; extracted Stubbs, W. Malm., G. R., II. xlii. q.v. (Rolls Ed.) 

10 Stubbs, sup. 

a.d. 855] TO ROME 235 

own pilgrimage to Rome. 1 He went in great state, his sons 
^Ethelberht 2 and Alfred going with him. The Roman 
goes to Rome, annalists have placed on record the costly gifts presented to 
St. Peter by the pious king. All classes of the community 
are said to have partaken of his munificence. He also rebuilt the Saxon 
School which for the second time had been destroyed by fire. 3 

On his way home yEthelwulf paid a long visit at the court of Karl II., 
otherwise Charles the Bald, at Worms. During this visit, which took 
place in the month of July, 856, ^thelwulf was betrothed to Charles's 
daughter Judith, a girl of twelve or thirteen years at most. 4 On the 
1st October he married her. Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims performed 
the service, and also crowned Judith as Queen, 5 an innovation on West- 
Saxon custom, where queens were not recognised. 

/Ethelwulf sailed home (856) with his child-Queen, in happy indiffer- 
ence to the fact, of which he could not have been left in ignorance, that, 
in his absence, the kingdom had been taken from him, and 
England. gi veo t0 his son - At his departure the people, unable to 
dispense with the presence of a governing king, held a 
meeting in Selwood, under the presidency of Bishop Ealstan of Sher- 
borne, and Eanwulf, Ealdorman of the Sumorssetas, and proclaimed 
^Ethelbald, 7 the eldest surviving son of ^Ethelwulf, king of Wessex. When 
the old king returned matters looked rather black at first, as yEthelwulf 
had his supporters. But, as the annalist puts it, through the ' clemency ' 
of the king, and the kind mediation of the Witan, a com- 
a wessex° promise was effected, under which vEthelbald kept the 
Western and better half of the kingdom, /Ethelwulf having to 
content himself with the Eastern half, or under-kingdom of Kent, Essex, 

1 Application had been made to the Emperor Louis by the "Rex Anglorum" for a 
safe conduct to Rome as early as 839, "post Pascha." Prudentius of Troyes ; Ann. 
Berlin. ; Pertz, I. 433. The expression " post Pascha " would imply that the application 
was made before Ecgberht's death. 2 Cod. Dipl. No. 276. 

3 Lappenberg, Anglo-Saxons, II. 26; Anastasius, Muratori, III. 251; W. Malm., 
G. R., II. p. 152. The offerings included a crown weighing 4 lbs., and two armlets of 
pure gold ; a sword of state partly sheathed in gold ; a tunic (saraca) of silk, etc. 

4 Charles was married to Judith's mother, Ermengard, on the 12th December, 842. 
Petrie, note to Asser, M.H.B. 

5 Ann. Be/tin. ; Pertz, I. 450 ; H. and S., III. 612. The service used on the occasion 
is extant ; Capitularies of Charles the Bald; Baluze, v. II. coll. 209-212 ; also in Bouquet, 
VII. 621. 

G See Asser, 471 ; where the withholding of royal honours from women in Wessex is 
represented as dating only from the time of Eadburh, the daughter of Offa. But the 
custom was doubtless primitive. Judith signs as Regina, but we get no such signature 
again till the time of Eadgar, a.d. 968; Cod. Dipl. Nos. 543, 557, etc.; E. W. 
Robertson, Hist. Essays, 168. In the Anglic kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria 
queens were recognised. 

7 ^Ethelbald died in 860, having reigned five years ; that would bring his accession to 
855; H. andS., III. 612. 

236 sETHELWULF [a.d. 856-858 

Surrey, and Sussex, 1 formerly held by his eldest son ^Ethelstan, and then 
actually by his third son yEthelberht. 2 

Death of Within two years' time y-Ethelwulf went the way of all flesh, 
^theiwuif. having died, apparently, on the 13th June, 858^ 
The name of ^Ethelwulf is probably best known to most persons in con- 
nexion with his supposed grant of Tithes, the legal origin of which in this 

country has been traced to him. 4 But in the first place the 
and Titles. g rants ascribed to him really import nothing of the sort : and 

in the second place we have evidence of the legal recognition 
of tithes long before his time. The demand of one-tenth part of all 
that increases was advanced at an early time by the clergy "as heirs 
to the rights of the Levitical priesthood," and it is probable that the 
principle was introduced into England with Christianity. "It is clear 
from the genuine Penitential of Theodore that the duty of giving tithe to 
sacred purposes was regarded by him as a part of the common law of the 
church.'' 5 At any rate we have seen the payment of tithes throughout 
Northumbria and Mercia enjoined by the Councils of Finchale and 
Chelsea in 787 and 788. The canons there passed being approved by 
the kings and their Witan, would have, without doubt, the force of la\v. G 

If we turn to the records of what /Ethelwulf actually did we find our- 
selves met by a certain conflict of evidence. Asser, whom for this period 

we must consider our primary authority, tells us very clearly 
tS d s e ubj 3 ect that the kin S before hi s departure for Rome < freed the tentli 

part of his kingdom from all Royal service and tribute . . . 
for the redemption of his soul . . . and as an offering to God.' 7 
This statement is repeated verbatim by the careful Florence of Worcester. 
The Winchester Chronicle, however, giving, as we hold, a rough transla- 
tion of the Latin original preserved by Asser, tells us that ^Ethelwulf 
' booked,' i.e. granted away by charter, ' the tenth part of his land over all 
his kingdom for the love of God, etc' 8 This statement is repeated by a 
string of chroniclers, the Latin writers rendering ' booked ' (" gebocude ") 
by decumavit? 

1 Asser, M.H.B., 470, 471 ; copied by Florence and W. Malm., G. R., II. p. 168. 

2 -Fthelberht signs as " rex " in 853 (given as 855), Cod. Dipt. No. 269. /Ethelstan 
signs up to 850 ; Id. 1049. 

:i Florence. Most MSS. read "Id. Jan," but one reads " Id.Junii." If he had died 
on the 13th January he would have lived little more than a year after his return from 
Rome, whereas he is said to have died ' within two years' (ymb ii gear) ; again the 13th 
June will tally better with the duration of a reign of 18J years, which had its beginning 
in September-December, 839. 4 So Selden, Histoiy of Tithes. 

5 See H. & S., III. 191, 203. 6 H. & S., III. 636, 637. 

7 " Decimam totius regni sui partem ab omni regali servitio et tributo liberavit . . . 
pro redemptione animae sua?," etc. ; M. H. B., 470. 

8 " Gebocude teoban doel his londes, etc.," A.d. 855. 

9 e.g., yEthelweard, Symeon, H. Huntingdon, W. Malmesbury. The last says, 
** Decimam omnium hidarum infra resrnum suum Christi famulis concessit." 

a.d. 844-854] AND TITHES 237 

To compare with these two versions we have a bundle of charters. If 
they had been clearly genuine their testimony would have been final, 
but all are open to question, 1 and the Malmesbury and Winchester re- 
pertories from whence they come are said to be of the lowest character. 
The whole may be divided into four groups. In three deeds falling under 
the first of these we have the announcement of an intended general 
grant to the church of one-tenth of the king's lands freed from all royal 
dues, together with certain other grants, the nature of which is not so 
clearly defined, in favour of the king's ministry i.e. his thegns. With 
some variation in their language the three charters agree in intimating 
that the intended ultimate recipient of all the king's bounty was the 
church. " Consilium . . . salubre profeci ut decimam partem terra- 
rum per regnum 11011 solum Sanctis ecclesiis darem verum etiam et ministris 
nostris in eodem constitutis in perpetuam libertatem concessiris ita ut alis 
(ay. aliis ?) donatio fixa et incommutabilisque permaneat ab omni regali 
servitio, etc. (Easter Day, 22 April, 854)." 2 The two other charters 
which we place alongside of this one, in rather different words, express 
the king's purpose as contemplating a remission of crown dues on every 
tenth hide of land at least {decimam mansionem ubi minimum), in the 
hands of his miuistri, but clearly only in the end for the benefit of the 
church, "in libertatem perpetuam donari sanctce ecclesice." 3 This quite 
agrees with Asser's account. As our second group we take two charters 
dated ten years earlier (5th Nov., 844), in which the king's purpose of 
remitting one-tenth of his crown dues is not limited to lands held by the 
clergy or by ministri, but to all lands by whomsoever held (antea possi- 
dentibus, etc.), and without any reference to the ultimate benefit of the 
church. 4 Thirdly, we rank two charters in which the king's purpose of 
'tithing' his land (decimans rurd) is made to preface grants of estates to 
the church at Winchester; 5 and fourthly, others again in which the 
'decimation' (fro decimatione) is made to operate in favour of laymen. 
On this evidence the view taken by Mr. Kemble, and since generally 
accepted, is that /Ethelwulf in the first place released the crown dues 
over one-tenth of all lands in his kingdom, whether in the hands of 
churchmen or of others ; and in the second place granted away, or in- 
tended to grant away, one-tenth of his private estates either to church- 
men or to favoured thegns for their own private use and benefit. This 
account, no doubt, is that which the charters as a whole on the face of 
them seem to suggest. We would begin by putting on one side the 
charters falling under our three latter groups ; those of the second group 
as clearly giving an unwarrantable extension to the king's grant, and 

1 The Indictions are wrong throughout. 2 Cod. Dip. No. 270. 

3 Id. Nos. 271, 1,050. 4 Nos. 275, 1,048. 

5 Nos. 1,051, 1,052. A reference to Frithegyth Regina of Wessex does not inspire 
confidence. G Nos. 276 (a.d. 855) and 1,054. 

233 .ZTHELBALD [a.d. 858 

those of the third and fourth groups as applying the king's grant to private 

purposes. Taking our stand on Asser and the charters of the first group 

we venture to suggest a new interpretation of the king's 

ugges 1 . act j orL 'pj ie or jgi na i an( j usua j mo d e f paying tithe of 

course was by handing over in kind a tenth of the produce of the soil. But 

the Plans of Common Fields recently brought to light show that there was 

another mode of providing for tithe, namely, by allotting to the parish 

priest the ' tenth strip in each Common Field.' 1 With this fact before us 

we suggest that what yEthelwulf did was perhaps to introduce, perhaps 

only to adopt and encourage, this mode of securing tithe by devoting the 

tenth strip of every hide of land in his demesnes to the service of the 

Church ; while to encourage others to do likewise he freed from all crown 

dues the tenth parts of all lands in the hands of magnates on condition of 

their being made over to the church. We may thus vindicate for yEthel- 

wulf the traditional association of his name with the question of tithes, 

not by way of any original introduction of tithes, but of a new and more 

effectual mode of providing for their payment. 

In ^thelwulf's Will, made a few months before his death, we have a 

further ' tithing ' of a sort, in the shape of a direction that one poor man 

should be fed and clothed for every ten hides of his estate. 2 With respect 

to the Succession he directed the existing partition to be maintained, 

.'Ethelbald remaining king of Wessex, while Kent, Surrey, Essex and 

Sussex would devolve upon his second surviving son yEthelberht, who, as 

above stated, had at one time held this dominion under himself. His 

private estates and his goods ^Ethelwulf divided between his two youngest 

sons and his daughter zEthelswyth, the wife of Burgred of Mercia, subject 

however as to the land to a provision for survivorship between the two 

brothers. 3 Lastly, he bequeathed 100 mancusses a year to 
Peter's Pence. . 

' Rome. 4 It is possible that the well-known " Rome-feoh," or 

Peter's Pence may have originated in this bequest. 

By Osburh, daughter of Oslac, the king's cup-bearer, 5 ^Ethelwulf had 

issue, ^Ethelstan, who died before him ; ^Ethelbald ; ^Ethelberht ; 

tEthelred ; zElfred ; and ^Ethelswyth, married to Burgred King of 

Mercia. She died in 888 at Pavia. 6 By Judith he had no issue. 

1 See below in vol. II. the Plan of the Common Field of Burton Agnes, where the 
parson's strips are shaded, and Canon J. Taylor's article in Domesday Studies. 

2 " Per omnem heriditariam terram suam ... in decern manentibus unum 
pauperem," etc. 

3 So I understand the reference to his father's Will found in Alfred's Will ; Cod. 
Dipt., No. 314. The old English and Latin renderings of Alfred's Will given in Birch, 
Cart. Sax., II. 180, 184, introduce a survivorship as to the kingdom which does not 
appear in the Anglo-Saxon original. 

4 Asser, M. H. B. y 472. Conf. W. Malmesbury, G. i?., II. p. 170. The mancus 
was = thirty pennies, or one-fourth of a mark ; while two marks at this time made a 
pound. 5 Asser, 469. 6 Chron. 

a.d. 858-861] AND sETHELBERHT 239 

By the death of iEthelwulf, /Ethelbald, his son and successor, as we must 
call him, gained no accession of territory, retaining simply his 
kingdom of Wessex, as provided by his father's will. His 
first act was to marry his stepmother Judith, 1 a union not forbidden by 
Teutonic custom, though contrary to the laws of the Church. This is 
almost the only fact recorded of his reign. He died in 86o, having 
reigned two and a half years since his father's death, five years in all. 2 

Judith, still a mere girl, then disposed of her " morgengifu " and other 
property in England, and returned to her own country. There she took 
as her third husband, Baldwin, first Count of Flanders, distinguished 
as Baldwin the Forester, by whom she had a family from which sprang 
Matilda the wife of the future Conqueror. 3 

At the death of ^Ethelbald his brother ^Ethelberht, the King of Kent, 

succeeded to Wessex, without surrendering Kent, which there- 
wEthelberHt. , a a <. 1 • j 

by was merged, and, as a separate kingdom, came to a 

final end, a distinct step in the direction of unification. 4 This, it would 
seem, was contrary to the provisions of their father's will, who sought to 
keep Kent severed from Wessex by directing that the latter kingdom at 
the death of ^Ethelbald should pass not to ^Ethelberht but to ^thelred, 
the next brother. The Witan however doubtless had overruled the im- 
politic direction. 

The mark of yEthelberht's reign was the sack of Winchester by the 
' heathen.' Ultimately, we are told, the invaders were inter- 
W sacked! 6r ce P ted an <* cut off b Y the men of Hampshire and Berk- 
shire. 5 

We are tempted to ask why were they not in time to save Winchester ? 
But the English, as we have seen, had brought from their continental 
homes an unfortunate contempt for fortifications ; and the fyrd in the 
nature of things was slow to arm. Rapidity of movement was one of the 
characteristics of the Wicking forces. Except in the personal courage in 
which they placed their trust the natives were no match for the invaders. 
As assailants with the command of all the coasts and waterways the natural 
advantages of the latter of course were great. They could land where they 
liked, and fall back on their ships when they had had enough of it. But 
in the mingled caution and daring of their movements, their promptness 
and resourcefulness, and their careful use of fortifications and entrench- 
ments, they shewed a real genius for the art of war. 6 " Outnumber them as 
they might, a host of farmers hurried from their ploughs, armed with what 

1 Shcsigns as "Judith regina " in 858; Cod. Dip. No. 1058 ; the first genuine West 
Saxon charter so attested. 2 Asser, p. 472, 473 ; Chron., etc. 

3 Lapp., II. 28. Hincmar in Pertz, I. 456. 

4 Asser: he adds, "ut justum erat." Chron., etc. 

5 Asser, Chron., etc., 861? 

6 See all this well brought out by Mr. Green, Cong, of E., 88-90. 

2 4 o ^THELRED I. [a.d. 861-866 

weapons each found to hand, were no match for soldiers such as these." 
But the worst of it was that there was not even a substantial class of 
farmers to fight for the land. So far as we can see the bulk of the 
agricultural population must already have been in a condition of practical 

The sack of Winchester must have happened early in the reign of 
vEthelberht, 1 as it is the first event recorded. After that Asser seems to 
say that ^thelberht reigned five years 'in peace.' 3 Yet within that time 
we have the 'heathen' again wintering in Thanet (864-865). The men of 
Kent attempted to buy them off with the promise of a subvention. But no 
sooner was the treaty sealed than the enemy ' bestole them away by night 
and over-harried all Kent Eastwards.' 3 

In 866 yEthelberht died, apparently without issue, whereupon the next 

brother, ^Ethelred I., became king of the United Kingdom of Wessex and 

Kent. His five years' reign witnessed the final downfall of the 
JEtlislrcd I 

Heptarchic system. The invading hosts were beginning to 

form permanent settlements on English soil, and the native dynasties out- 
side of Wessex fell before them never to rise again. 

In the year of /Ethelred's accession a mighty host alighted on the shores 
of East Anglia, apparently under the leadership of three great captains, 
Healfdene, Ingvar or Ivar, and Ubba. The two first were brothers, 
"Skioldungr of the royal race of Seeland" 4 ; Ubba is represented as a 
Frisian chief. 5 These are the first Northern leaders whose names have 
been handed down to us 6 ; and, as usual, legend has sought to enhance 
the glory of the two of them, namely Healfdene and Ivar, by making them 
the sons of a hero of romance, Regnar Lodbrog. 7 At any rate we have 
here the first unquestionable appearance of the Danes proper 8 in Great 

1 Lappenberg suggests that the leader was Weland, the terror of the Seine and the 
Somme in 860-861 ; Anglo-Saxons, II. 29. 

2 "Pacifice." 3 Asser; Chron. 

4 Robertson, Scotland tinder Early Kings, II. 430. Asser, 481. 

5 Sym., Hist. Dun. Audarium, pp. 203, 204, 229. 

6 Sym., Hist. Dun., 54; Hist. R., 104. iEthelvveard only gives the name of 
" Igware " or "Iwar"; M.H.B., 512, 513. Asser gives the name correctly " Ivar." 
Id., 481. 

7 So at least Chron. Eric, Langebek, I. 149, compiled circa 1288, and Ann. Roskild. 
Id., 373 (826-1157). Wars of Gaedhill, liii., lvi. Regnar is supposed to have reigned 
over Denmark and Norway at some time between 809 and 865, the dates of the different 
writers differing. 

8 Asser (copied by Florence) writes u de Danubio classis advenit," evidently meaning 
" Dania " or " Danemarchia." The Danes are traced to the South-West of Sweden, from 
whence they had recently passed across Zealand into Jutland ; Green, Cona. of E., 88. 
In their descents on Britain they had been joined by Frisians and others. " Infinita 
multitudine Danorum scilicet et Fresorum aliarumque gentium paganarum"; Sym., 
Hist. D., sup. It is not clear that Ivar had not come from Ireland in the last instance. 
His comrade Olaf of Dublin was devastating the Pictish kingdom of Fortrenn or Strath- 
earn this very year. Ann. Ulster ; Chron. Picts. 

a.d. 866-363] HEALFDENE, IVAR AND UBBA 241 

Britain. In Ireland they had already made themselves terrible for some 
fourteen years under the leadership of this same Ivar and one " Amlaiph." 
Ivar is identified with Ivar "Beenlos" (the Boneless) of Northern lays 1 ; 
while the trustworthy Annals of Ulster style him the chief king of all the 
Northmen in Great Britain and Ireland. 2 Amlaiph, otherwise Olaf the 
White, became King of Dublin. 3 By the Irish writers their people were 
called " Danarda " and " Dubgall," ' Black Strangers,' to distinguish them 
from the " Fingall " or ' White Strangers,' who came from the land of 
" Lochlann," i.e. Norway. 4 The darker complexion ascribed to the Danish 
hosts suggest the presence of r. Slavonic element as already pointed out. 

To the work of invasion they brought a strength of numbers and a 
systematic action not yet witnessed. The East Anglians, powerless to resist, 

at once ' made peace,' i.e. submitted ; supplying the invaders 
Eas^S^ila w ^ ever y tmn § ^ey wanted, including horses. 5 Accordingly 

next spring the bulk of the force took the field on horseback, 
with greatly incr ^d powers of locomotion and action. Here again we 
may notice the e^icmess of these men in seizing opportunities and adapting 
themselves to circumstances. Northwards they moved across the Humber. 
The Northern kingdom was in no fit state to resist them. Osbert, who 
had come to the throne in 850, had been dethroned in 863 in favour of 
one JE\\a. t a man said not to have been of Royal birth, though bearer of a 

royal name. Osbert however had not been made away with, 

C °DSra t ° f and he must stiU have had a P art y* Between -^ lla and 
Osbert the Danes were allowed to overrun the whole of Deira. 

Churches and monasteries were given to the flames. The conquest was 

completed by the capture of York on the 1st November, 867. Then the 

Northumbrian parties agreed to sink their differences. Early in 868 an 

army was raised which comprised contingents under eight ealdormen. At 

their approach the Danes prudently withdrew within the fortifications 

of York. The Northumbrians, with reckless courage, assaulted the city 

and effected a partial entrance, but only to be cut down in the streets. 

Both their kings fell, and the whole army was dispersed (21st March, 


Northumbria submitted. The Danes however, for the moment, 
not wanting to meddle with Bernicia, set up a puppet king, by name 
Ecgberht, to rule in their name North of the Tyne ; Healfdene apparently 
retaining the kingdom of Deira. 6 

Having thus mastered Northumbria, the Danes turned Southwards into 
Mercia, Ivar leading them. 7 They established themselves at " Snotting- 

1 Wars of Gaedhill,W\. Green. 2 A.D. 87,3. 

3 Ann. Ulster. Skene, Celtic Scotland^ I. 324. 

4 Wars of Gaedhill, p. 19. 5 a.d. 866, Asser, Chron., Flor., H. Hunt. 

G Symeon, Hist. Dunelm., II. c. 6 ; conf. Asser and the Chronicles, who confuse the 
two attacks on York of the 1st Nov., 869, and 21st March, 868. 7 Sym., sup. 

R. H. r 

242 THE DANES AT YORK [a.d. 868-870 

ham," Nottingham, on the ford of the Trent. But the Midland kingdom 

did not fall so easy a prey as Northumbria. Burgred sent 

^ er( jj a a pressing call for help to the court of Winchester, and 

^Ethelred and his brother .Alfred hastened to the rescue. 

At their coming the Danes withdrew into Nottingham, ' so there was no 

heavy fighting.' A truce was signed, the Wessex men returning home, 

while the Danes wintered at Nottingham. 1 Next year they returned to 

York, remaining there over winter. 2 

The year 870 proved a dark one in the annals of the English Church. 
The Northumbrian Danes extending their dominion drove Archbishop 
Wulfhere into exile, and dismissed King Ecgberht, setting up one Ricsig 
in his place. 3 The See of Hexham came to an end — if it had not fallen 
before. 4 Another force marched southwards under Ivar to complete the 
reduction of East Anglia. Every minster on their track was destroyed. 
Burgheard, the Bishop of Lindsey, had to fly. 5 The abbot and monks 
at Medehamstede (Peterborough) were put to the sword. Bardney, 
Croyland, and Ely doubtless fared no better. On entering East Anglia 
the Danes established themselves at Thetford, where their earthworks may 
yet excite the wonder of the sightseer. 7 In face of a permanent occupa- 
tion King Eadmund (the Martyr) led out a forlorn hope to strike a last 
blow for homes and altars. He was utterly defeated, taken prisoner, and 
put to death. Tradition had it that he was bound to a tree and shot with 
King Ead- arrows > a domestic St. Sebastian. Bishop Humbert of Elmham 
mund the suffered with him (Monday, 20th Nov., 870). 8 The See of 
Martyr. jj unw i c h passed away for ever : Lindsey and Elmham re- 
mained vacant for upwards of 80 years. 9 

So ended the native East Anglian succession. The indomitable Ivar 
went off to the North, from whence he returned to Dublin, there to die in 
peace some three years later. 10 Another chief, by name Guthrum, became 

1 a.d. 868-869, Asser, Chron., etc. 

2 a.d. 869, ib. ; Sym., sup. 3 Symeon, sup. 

4 The last recorded Bishop of Hexham, Tidferth, died in 821. Stubbs, Reg. Sacrum. 

5 He signs last in 869 ; Cod. Dip. No. 299. In the Registrum Sacrum the name is 
given as Berhtred. 

6 See Chron. E, the Peterborough Chronicle. Circumstantial details of the war in 
Lindsey are given by the Chronicle of Ingulf, for which see Lapp., II. 36 ; but this 
work is an undoubted forgery of late date. 

7 The central conical mound is one of the largest " made hills" in England : it is 
enclosed by triple lines of ramparts and ditches of horseshoe shape, the open side 
abutting on the river Thet. One side of the enclosure has been demolished : what 
remains covers 13 acres of ground: the whole must have enclosed some 24 acres. 
Blomeheld, Norfolk, II. 27. 

8 Asser ; Chron. ; Symeon, sup. ; H. Hunt. ; and the so-called Annals of Asser or 
Chronicle of St. Neots, M. H. £■., 475 ; Reg. Sacr. ; Abbo, Vita Eadmundi', Acta SS. 

Reg. Sacrum. 
10 Ann. Ulster., a.d. 873. These Annals represent Ivar as acting with Olaf in an 

a.d. 870-871] AND READING 243 

the first king of a Danish East Anglia, the only " strictly Danish king- 
dom " that lasted any time, though apparently not a district specially 
selected by them for agrarian settlements. 1 Probably the land was not 
good enough to tempt them as colonists. But when the mound forts at 
Norwich and Cambridge had been added to that at Thetford, the country 
would be fettered with a band of iron. 

With respect to the Danish settlements we may point out that as the 
Anglo-Saxons had possessed themselves of the best of the lands previously 
owned by the Britons, so of the lands held by the English the Danes seem 
to have picked out the best g v ass lands. 

Northumbria having been knocked to pieces ; East Anglia subjugated ; 
and Mercia- largely cut into, the invaders now proceeded 
Attacked to attac ^ Wessex. But the Southern kingdom justified its 
prestige by the spirited resistance it offered. 

Early in 871 an invading army came down on Reading, and entrenched 
itself between the Thames and the Kennet ; doubtless on the tongue of 
land now occupied by the ruins of the abbey and the gaol. 2 The force 
was led by two kings, Healfdene and Bagsecg, and a host of jarls 
(" eorlas "). We may suppose that they had marched from East Anglia 
more or less along the Icknield way. The camp having been fortified, 
on the third day part of the force rode out to forage, but were checked by 
the Ealdorman of Berkshire at Englefield, some five miles to the South- 
West of Reading. Four days later ^Ethelred and Alfred came up and 
drove the Danes into their camp. Not content with that, they attempted 
to storm the entrenchments, but were beaten off and had to retreat. The 
Danes following, a battle ensued on " ^Escesdune," or the Berkshire 
Downs, the name being more especially connected with the East end, 
abutting on the Thames. We are told that the Danes managed to occupy 
higher ground than the English, and, apparently, between them and 
home. 3 It has been suggested that the English retreated up the Thames 
to Streatley, or a little farther, and that the Danes in their pursuit striking 
upwards from Streatley by the Ridgeway, or some other road, took up a 
commanding position from which the English felt bound to dislodge them. 
That is all that we know. 4 The enemy marshalled themselves in two 

attack on Ailcluyth (Dunbarton) in 870. It is impossible to decide as to his exact 

1 Lapp., II. 39. Freeman, O.E.H., p. 109, calls attention to the fact that Danish 
names are much less common in East Anglia than they are in Lincolnshire or Yorkshire. 

2 Asser. He adds that the Danish " vallum " was placed " a dextrali parte . . . 
villae regiae." In the mouth of a Celt the ' right hand ' would mean the South, as they 
reckoned the points of the compass with their faces to the East : but the Danish position 
must have been to the East of the town. The conical mound called Forbury Hill may 
be identified with the Danish fort. As a rule the modern gaol will be found in 
proximity to the primitive fort, a curious instance of continuity. 3 So Asser. 

4 See the Paper laid by Mr. James Parker before the Oxford Antiquarian Society in 
187 1, and the authorities there cited for the Eastern site of " ^Escesdune " as against 

244 THE DANES CHECKED [a.d. 871 

divisions, one under the two kings ; the other under the many jarls. The 

English adopted a similar formation, assigning one command 

JEwesdule. to ^ thelred and the other to Alfred. All was ready : the 

Danes were coming down with levelled spears and locked 

shields — the testudo of the Romans, the ' boardwall '. of Anglo-Saxon lays 

■ — but ^Ethelred refused to quit his tent till Mass had been celebrated. 

The moment was critical : Alfred seeing that in a few minutes all might 

be lost took upon himself the responsibility of ordering the whole line 

to advance without waiting for the king. His decision was crowned with 

success ; charging fiercely he gained a complete victory : King Bagsecg 

and five jarls of name fell on the field. 1 

The Danes must have fallen back on Reading to recruit their forces, as 

we hear of an action fought within a fortnight at Basing, in which they 

had the best of it. 2 Again, we have yet another action fought before 

Easter (15th April) at " Merantune," Merton in Surrey. There Bishop 

Heahmund of Sherborne fell (22nd March?) 3 : and there ende k d the public 

career, if not the life, of King .^Ethelred I. He died on the 24th April 4 ; 

worn out no doubt by the fatigue and anxiety of the campaign, 

iEthelrecfl ^ not actua % done t0 death by wounds. The youngest and 

last surviving son of ^Ethelwulf, Alfred the Great, was then 

hailed by acclamation King of the West Saxons and of Kent 5 ; the sons 

of ^Ethelred being passed over. 6 

But welcome as the accession of Alfred must have been, there was 
no time for rejoicings, hardly time for the obsequies of the late king. 
The Danes were again advancing from Reading and in fresh force. 
Within a month of his accession Alfred had to withstand their onslaught 
on a hill near Wilton, on the South side of the Wily. Favoured by their 
position the English with inferior numbers kept the enemy at bay, till the 
invaders with their superior generalship feigned a retreat, and so luring 
the natives from their vantage ground, eventually won the day. 7 

But both sides had had enough of it. Within five months eight or nine 
pitched battles had been fought South of the Thames, besides untold 

the Western site adopted by earlier writers. After examining both sites I must hold the 
Eastern site the most likely in all respects. 

1 See Asser (copied by Florence). Asser had the details from men who had been 
in the action ; he also visited the spot, and was shewn a thorn bush round which the 
fight had raged. Conf. Chron. A (copied by the others). 2 Asser, Chron. 

3 Chron. ; Flor. ; /Ethelweard. The 22nd March is Bishop Heahmund's Day in the 
Anglo- Saxon Calendar. This action is not noticed by Asser. 4 Flor. 

5 "Rex occidentalium Saxonum necnon set Cantuariorum " ; Cod. Dip. No. 307; 
Birch, II. p. 158 ; again Cod. D. No. 314, "West Seaxena cinge." 

6 iEthelired apparently left two sons, ^Ethelhelm and ^Ethelwold, both mentioned in 
Alfred's will ; Cod. Dip. No. 314. yEthelweard the chronicler claimed /Ethelred as 
his great-great-grandfather. M.H.B., 514. See Id., Preface, 81. 

7 Asser, Flor., Chron. ^Fthelweard, who must have been well informed in court 
traditions, asserts that iElfred was not in the action, being still detained by the obsequies 
of his brother at Wimborne. M.H.B., 514. 

A.D. 871] 



A Truce. 

skirmishes and beatings up of quarters. If the English had trouble in 
keeping their men together, the invaders were far from their 
base of operations. The Danes signed a truce and evacuated 

Wessex, retiring to Reading. 1 It is likely however that Alfred had to 

pay heavily for this deliverance. 


A.D. 802-874 


Archbishops of 

Kings of Wessex. 

Kings of Mercia. 

Kings of 






805, 12 May 

Death of ASthel- 
heard (H. & 

s., in. 467); 



Deposition of 


zElfwold King. 


Deposition of 
M lfwold ; 
Eanred King 


Death of Coen- 
wulf ; his 
brother Ceol- 
wulf King 


Deposition of 
Ceo 1 wul f ; 
B eornwulf 


Death of Beorn- 

wulf (killed in 



Ludecan King ; 
death of Lude- 
can (killed in 


Wiglaf King ; 
deposition of 
Wiglaf by Ecg- 
berht of Wes- 


Restoration of 

Wiglaf (as 



Death of Wul- 

Feologeld Arch- 
bishop (?) (H. 
&S., III. 609) 


Ceolnoth Arch- 



Death of Ecg- 

Death of Wiglaf; 

berht ; iEthel- 


wulf King 


Asser ; Chron. ; Flor. ; /Ethel weard. 



Archbishops of 

Kings of Wessex. 

Kings of Mercia. 

Kings of 



Death of Eanred ; 
son JE their ed 
II. King 


Death iEthelred, 
assassinated ; 
Osbert King 


Death of Beorht- 
wulf; Burgred 


Death of /Ethel- 
wulf; ^Ethel- 
bald King 


Death of yEthel- 
bald; ^Ethel- 
berht King 


Deposition of 
Osbert; JEW* 


Death of^Ethel- 

berht ; ^Ethel- 

red King 


Death of y£lla 
(killed in 
battle). End 
of Angle 


Death of Ceol- 
noth ; ^Ethel- 
r e d A r c h- 



Death of JEth el- 
red ; Alfred 


Expulsion of 
Burgred. End 
of Angle 



(Born at Wantage circa 842. l Began to reign April-May, 87 1 ; died 28th Oct., 900) 

Settlement of Danes in Mercia and Deira — Wessex overrun — Settlement in East Anglia 
— Reorganization of Wessex by Alfred — Fresh struggle with army of Hasten — His 
ultimate expulsion — Death of zElfred 

/[ ^LFRED is certainly one of the most pleasing, and perhaps the 
/ 1J most perfect character in history. " No other man on record has 
so thoroughly united all the virtues both of the ruler and of the private 
man." 2 Various deeds and institutions have been ascribed to him of 
which he cannot boast ; but the outlines of his character are unquestion- 
able; and in fact it is refreshing to find a great reputation that "so 
thoroughly bears investigation." 3 His ability has not been fully re- 
cognised, owing perhaps to the modest way in which he speaks of himself 
and his own accomplishments. He was a man of great breadth and clear- 
ness of vision ; one who could rise above the surroundings in which he was 
born, and form a just estimate of his age and its deficiencies. To remedy 
these he laboured ' night and day ' under the strictest sense of duty. A 
thorough reformer, he never allowed himself to be carried too far in any 
one direction, working, so to speak, evenly all round. 

From his infancy his good looks and engaging manners made him the 
favourite of his parents and their court. 4 His mind must have been 
enlarged by his two journeys to Rome in 853 and 855, young as he was. 

But his schooling was neglected by his parents and guardians. 
Educaibton ^ ot ^ ^ e was twe ^ ve y ears old and upwards was any attempt 

made to instruct him in letters 5 ; and even then the instruc- 

1 The accepted date for Alfred's birth, on the authority of Asser (copied by Florence), 
is a.d. 849. M. H. B., 467. Asser repeats this assertion in several places, but again he 
tells us that 853, the undoubted year of Alfred's first journey to Rome, was his eleventh 
year. M. H. B., 469, 470. This is intelligible : a mission to Rome at four years of age 
passes belief. Again if we take .Flfred to have been eleven years old in 853 the story 
about his mother and the book harmonizes with the statement that he began to learn to 
read when he was twelve. M. H. B., 473, 474. That would be after his return from 
his first visit to Rome. But if he was only four years old in 853 his mother cannot have 
lived to see him reach his twelfth year, as she must have died before 856, when /Ethel- 
wulf married Judith. See Bishop Stubbs, W. Malmesbury, G. R., II. xli. 

2 Freeman, N. C, I. 51. 3 C. Pearson. 4 Asser, a.d. 849, 866. 

5 " Usque ad duodecimum cetatis annum aut eo amplius, illiteratus permansit." Asset, 
a.d. 866. 


248 YOUTH OF sELFRED [a.d. 842-868 

tion was imparted in so desultory a manner as to yield little fruit. It was 
a matter of constant regret to him in after life that with all his endeavours 
he was never able to read properly. 1 His education was really limited to 
making him learn a few things by heart ; such as native ballads, the daily 
Hours of Prayer, and a few Psalms. He constantly carried a devotional 
manual on his person. But his quickness in learning by rote was great. 

Asser records the well-known incident of Alfred and his mother Osburh. 
She was showing her sons a ' book ' of Saxon poetry, 2 and said that she 

would give the book to whichever of them should ' learn it ' 
Ms^otiier* nrst - 3 ^ l fred, stimulated by the beauty of the illuminated 

capital at the beginning of the book, 4 took it to his tutor; 
mastered its contents with his help 5 ; and then returning to his mother 
repeated his lesson and claimed his reward. 

For the deficiencies in .-Elfred's education one reason assigned is the 
scarcity of ' good readers ' in Wessex ; another may have been the delicacy 
of his constitution, which was far from strong. On the other hand from 
an early age he was initiated in all the mysteries of the chase, on which he 

was held a great authority to the end of his days. G In 868, at 
p ' the age of six-and-twenty, he married y^Ethelswyth, daughter of 
^Ethelred, surnamed " Much 1 ," Ealdorman of the Gainas 7 ; a match prob- 
ably arranged by his sister the Queen of Mercia. In previous years he had 
been troubled with a. fiats : the heavy carousals attendant on the wedding 8 
were interrupted by an alarming attack, probably an epileptic fit, which for 
the time prostrated the young bridegroom. The fear of a recurrence of 

1 See the passage in Asser, very corruptly given in the M. H. B., p. 474; the point 
however is clear, viz., that /Elfred was constantly lamenting " legere ut non poterat." 
Again we are told that his great delight was to get persons to read to him, p. 486, 
" non enim adhuc aliquid legere inceperat," 487. Here the " adhuc " may refer to the 
incident recorded of the nth November, 887, when we are told that Alfred " legere et 
interpretari simul uno eodemque die primitus inchoavit," p. 491. But the incident as 
narrated was simply the starting of an album of Scriptural passages copied out by Asser 
for the king. Perhaps this was the first time that he thought of getting Latin writings 

2 " Saxonicum poematicce artis librum." 

3 " Quisquis vestrum discere citius istum codicem possit." 

4 " Pulchritudine principalis litterce istius libri illectus." 

5 "Magistrum adiit et legit." Asser, M. H. B., 474; Flor., ^.,556. The book 
need not have contained more than one lay ; it need not have contained more matter 
than the " boke " of a charter contained. For Alfred's age at the time see previous 
page, note 1. On the incident see Pauli, Life of Alfred, Wright's Transl., p. 86; 
Pearson, Hist., I. 163 ; Green, Conquest of E., p. 100. 

6 Asser, Flor. 

7 Asser, Flor., in anno. The name Mucil must not be taken as = Muckle, Big, nor 
must the district of the Gainas be identified with Gainsborough. H. Bradley, Academy, 
1894, 2nd July; W. H. Stevenson, Id., 30th June. 

8 " Post diuturna die noctuque convivia." 

a.d. 872-875] THE DANES IN MERCIA 249 

these attacks haunted him during the rest of his life. 1 But bodily 
infirmity seemed only to nerve the strength of his will. 

The truce of Wilton gave Alfred and Wessex a much needed breathing 
time of five years. In 872 the Danes removed from Reading to the 
neighbourhood of London, where they remained for a year under a truce 
with the Mercians. 2 The truce was doubtless an " appatisement " 3 such 
as we shall hear of in the 14th and 15th centuries, an arrangement under 
which the invaders agreed to respect a certain territory in consideration of 
a fixed subsidy or blackmail. 

In 873, Middlesex having been well fleeced, Healfdene led his army 
northwards into Lindesey, where he wintered at " Turcesige," Torksey on 
the Trent. 4 In 874 he plunged westwards into the heart of 
o?3ScS Merc i a - Burgred was driven from his throne, apparently with- 
out a struggle. Submitting tamely to his fate he retired to 
Rome, there shortly to die, the last of Mercian kings properly so called. 
But the Danes did not want to be troubled with the whole of Mercia. As 
on their first invasion of Northumbria they had set up a puppet king in 
Bernicia, so now they assigned part of Mercia to Ceolwulf, a Thegn or 
Minister of the late king. 5 

The districts so assigned must have comprised Mercia proper, the 
territory of the Hwiccas, and Hecana, or Herefordshire ; as we have an 
episcopal succession continuing at Lichfield, Worcester, and Hereford. On 
the other hand the See of Leicester removes to Dorchester, on the borders 
of Wessex ; while that of Lindesey remains in abeyance for eighty years 
and upwards. 6 The lands appropriated by the Danes were 

Burghs 6 g rou P ed round Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, 7 Stamford and 
Lincoln; towns which became linked in a sort of confeder- 
ation, known afterwards as the Five Burghs. 8 

But the greater number of the Danes were not yet disposed to settle 
down as peaceful landowners. Having spent the winter of 874-875 at 
Repton, in the spring the more restless spirits divided into two bands, 
one moving northwards under Healfdene, the other southwards under 
Guthrum, Oskytel, and Amund. 

Healfdene must have moved up the West coast, as we hear that, starting 
from Repton, he subdued all Northumbria, i.e. Bernicia; harried the Picts, 

1 Asser, 484, 485, 492. He describes the attacks as liable to recur up to the king's 
45th year, the time when he was writing ; but there is no evidence that they ceased 
after that time. Conf. Flor., M. H. £., 556. 

2 Asser, Chron., Flor. 3 From the French pdtis. 4 Id., and H. Hunt. 

5 Asser, Flor., Chron., a.d. 874;' comparing the same, especially Florence, a.d. 
877. 6 See Registrum Sacr., pp. 12, 13, 163. 

7 The Danish " Deoraby " previously known as " Northworthige " ; yEthelweard, 

8 Lapp., II. 48. These settlements however may not have been established till 876. 


presumably the Galloway Picts ; and the Strathclyde Britons. 1 We are 
also told that he destroyed Lindisfarne and all other monasteries from sea 
to sea, finally settling down for winter quarters at Tynemouth. At his 
coming Bishop Eardwulf of Lindisfarne fled with the precious body of 
St. Cuthberht, to wander from one refuge to another for some eight long 
years. 2 

To this year we may probably ascribe the destruction of Carlisle, which 
lay waste for upwards of 200 years, till rebuilt by Rums in 1092. 3 

Throughout two-thirds of England the whole ostensible fabric of the 

Church had now fallen ; and with it all the learning and civilization of 

the North. Of the art treasures of Benedict Biscop, of the 

CivSization. libraries of Jarrow and York, we hear no more. The districts 

hitherto distinguished as the chief seats of English culture were 

once more reduced to barbarism. 

Nor had the districts North of the Cheviots escaped the visitation of the 

Scandinavian hosts, and more especially of those established in Ireland. 

Nay more the colonization of " Cair," or " Katanes " (Caithness), and 

" Sudrland " (Sutherland) would seem to have begun about this period. 4 

Nevertheless to the South of Drumalban, otherwise the Month or Mount, 

i.e. the so-called Grampians, the nucleus of a kingdom destined to unite 

the later Scotland was beginning to emerge. About the year 

Ma^Lpin 842 5 Kenneth Mac Alpin, being king of the Dalriad Scots, 

succeeded to the Pictish kingdom of Fortrenn or Strathearn, 

and so united the two Thrones. In the seventh year of his reign he 

1 iEthelweard renders the Strathclyde "Wealas" of the A.S. Chronicles by "Cumbri," 
the first appearance of the Cumbrian name in this sense. 

2 See Asser, still the best account, copied by Florence ; also Chron. A ; Symeon, 
Hist. Dunelm., II. c. 6. The slaughter of Picts by "Dubgallu," ' Black Strangers,' 
i.e. Danes, is also recorded by the Annals of Ulster under this year (875), Skene's 
Chronicles of Picts and Scots, p. 362. All the authorities make the year 875 begin with 
the winter quarters at Tynemouth, but the recorded winterings from 871 to 875 cannot 
be made out unless the winter 874-5 was s P ent at Repton. 

3 H. Hunt., a.d. 1092. Lindisfarne was certainly destroyed in this year. That 
Carlisle had been destroyed before Lindisfarne, may be inferred from the fact that when 
Bishop Eardwulf fled he was accompanied by Eadred, previously Abbot of Carlisle, who 
followed him for years. Sym., sup. The existence of an English monastery at Carlisle 
down to this period implies that so far Carlisle had not formed part of the kingdom 
of Strathclyde. Symeon expressly states that it was part of the diocese of Eardwulf; 
Hist. Dun., II. c. 5. That in fact Anglican influence had extended northwards from 
Carlisle into Dumfriesshire may be inferred from the well-known crosses of English type 
at Thornhill and Ruthwell. 

4 Circa 875. See Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 326. 

5 The best datum for the chronology of Kenneth seems to be that afforded by the 
Annals of Ulster and Innisfallen, which state that he died in 858, correctly given as 
being also the year of the death of /Ethelwulf. The various editions of the Pictish 
Chronicle give no date, but they all make Kenneth reign sixteen years. Chron. Picts and 
Scots, 8, 174, 361. Mr. Skene makes him reign 844-860 : Celtic Scotland, I. 310, 313. 

a.d. 875-876] STRATHCLYDE HOLDING OUT 251 

brought the relics of St. Columba from Iona ' to a church which he 
built.' 1 The church referred to appears to have been that at Dunkeld. 2 
But in fact both Dunkeld and Kilrimont, otherwise St. Andrew's, had been 
founded before his time. 3 Kenneth, we are told, invaded ' Saxony ' six 
several times, and burnt "Dunbarre," and "Marios," obviously Melrose. 4 
But he could not prevent the Strathclyde Britons from burning " Dub- 
blain," or Dunblane ; nor could he prevent the Danes harrying his 
kingdom and burning Dunkeld. 5 His dominions, however, must have 
included, besides his original Dalriada, or modern Argyllshire, the districts 
of Strathearn, Athole, Fife with Fothreeve (Kinross), Gowrie, Strathmore, 
Angus, and Kincardineshire. 

The kingdom of Strathclyde still held its own, as already shewn, al- 
though Ailcluyth had again been sacked, after a five months 7 
' siege, namely by Olaf the White, king of Dublin. 6 In the 
collapse of Northumbria it is not too much to suppose that the Britons 
had recovered the territory in Ayrshire wrested from them by 
Eadberht in 756. Lothian, doubtless through the strength 
of its Anglic population, maintained its position as a semi-independent 
outlier of Northumbria. Lastly, Galloway must have fallen 
back under native rule, the Anglican See of Whithern having 
come to an end about the beginning of the century, as already mentioned. 
By the beginning of the year 876 the followers of Healfdene, having 
gleaned all there was to glean in the way of moveable property in the 
North, became disposed to settle down as owners or cultivators of the soil ; 
and we are told that their leader began parcelling out the land among 
his people. 7 The districts appropriated lay in Deira, our Yorkshire, the 
contiguous parts of Mercia having been already occupied. The settle- 
ments in Cumberland probably fell later. But throughout a wide tract, from 
the bounds of Yorkshire to those of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, 
the termination "by" ( = burh = town) marks the lands taken by the 
invaders. In numberless cases the manor still retains the name of the 
original Scandinavian lord to whom it was assigned. 8 

1 "Ad ecclesiam quam construxit." So the oldest MS. of the Pictish Chronicle, p. 8. 

2 Haddan & S., II. 118 ; Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 310. With the Columban relics 
the primacy in the Scottish Church was transferred to Dunkeld. The Iona clergy, 
apparently disapproving of this, took part of the Columban relics to the recently founded 
church of Kells in Ireland, to be the chief Columban abbey. lb., Ann. Ulst., 814-849. 

3 Chron. Picts, 173, comparing Skene, sup., 296, 306 ; H. & S., 117. St. Andrew's 
must have been founded 731-747. 

4 Chron. Picts, 8. Under 761 Symeon records a battle between rEthelwald Moll of 
Northumbria and one Oswine at "Eldunum," which is glossed "Melros" ; Hist. Reg., 
41. Melrose is quite near the Eildons. 

5 Chron. Picts, 8. 6 a.d. 870. Ann. Ulst. ; Ann. Cambria. 

7 Asser ; Chron., etc. 

8 See Freeman, N. C, I. 48; Robertson, Scotland Under Early Kings, II. 434. 

252 MLFRED IN HIDING [a.d. 875-878 

To return to the Southern column of the Danish force that broke up 
from Repton in the spring of 875. It marched into East Anglia, establish- 
ing itself for the winter at " Grantebrycge," 1 Cambridge. The earthworks 
of the Castle Hill, piled up within the precincts of the Roman station, 
may date from this period. 

But Guthrum was not yet prepared to settle down as a mere king of 

East Anglia. In 876 he embarked his army, largely reinforced from 

various quarters, and sailed down the South coast to join 

inWessex! nan ds with a Western force. 2 Entering Poole harbour, he 

landed at Wareham, and established himself there again within 

old Roman works, between the Frome and the Piddle, adding a conical 

mound, as at Cambridge. 3 His ' Western ' allies were probably connected 

with the men against whom /Elfred in the previous year is said to have 

contended at sea with some success. But it is clear that at this time the 

main tide of Northern emigration was setting on the coasts of Great 

Britain, Ireland and Gaul being left in comparative peace. 

From their post at Wareham the Danes overran all Dorsetshire. Alfred 
met one band, and attempted to buy them out of the country. They 
closed with his terms, giving hostages, and pledging themselves to depart. 
The oath was sworn on a holy armlet dipped in blood, 4 their most solemn 
form of pledge. But when the money was paid they rode off to Exeter, 
and took up a fresh position there. In the spring the whole 
force came round from Wareham to Exeter, some by sea, and 
some by land. zElfred followed the movements of the latter force without 
risking a general action. But the winds and the waves fought for him at 
sea, and the Danes lost 120 vessels off Swanage, in the Isle of Purbeck. 5 

But at Exeter again the Danes soon found themselves in straits for 
means, as fresh adventurers were perpetually coming in. About August 
part of the force marched northwards to Gloucester to harry the Mercian 
districts committed to Ceolvvulf. The rest stayed at Exeter till the 6th 
January, 878, when they departed to establish themselves at 
Chippenham. The natives then seemed to abandon the 
struggle in despair. Alfred was driven to hide in the woods and swamps 
of Somerset; and Wessex for some months lay utterly prostrate. The 
prospect was indeed gloomy, as north of the Thames the Danes had 
advanced as far as the gates of London, holding the whole East coast. 7 

The well-known tale of Alfred and the cakes belongs to this period ; 
but the original authority appears to be a legendary Life of St. Neot, of 
uncertain date. 8 

1 Asser, Flor., Chron. 

2 "Conjecit statum communem cum occidental! exercitu " ; JEthelweard, 5 I S« 

3 Clark, Me Jiaval Military Architecture^ I. 18. 

4 "On tham halgan beage": Chron. See the note in Thorpe's translation of the 
passage (Rolls edition). 5 Chron., Flor. G Asser, Chron., JEthelweard. 

7 H. Hunt. 8 See M. H. B., 480, and Preface, 79- 


Affairs, however, soon began to take a turn. The Danes, out of reach 
of naval reinforcements, could not hold down Wessex for any length of time. 
A brother of Healfdene and Ivar, after ravaging South Wales, 
A Success? h vent ured to land at Kenwith, near Bideford, on the coast of 
Devon, and was cut off. 1 The Raven banner, a precious trophy, 
fell into the hands of the English. 2 After Easter (23rd March) we find 
Alfred fortifying a ' work,' as a rallying point, at Athelney, where the Tone, 
flowing northwards from Taunton, strikes the Parret, in the heart of a 
fen district impenetrable to cavalry. A jewel of blue enamel inclosed in a 
setting of gold, with the legend "Aelfred mec heht gewyrcan," 3 found 
here in 1693, "recalls the memory of this gallant stand." 4 Adherents 
soon began to join the king. In the seventh week after Easter (5th-nth 
May), bursting from his hiding-place, he unfurled his standard at " Ecg- 
brihtestane," to the East of Selwood, a place identified with Brixton Deverill, 
near Warminster. 5 Here the men of our Hampshire could join the 
musters from Somerset and Wilts. 

A day's march brought Alfred from Brixton to " Iglea," probably 
Highley, just off the road to Chippenham, a mile and a half short of Melk- 
sham. Next day, leaving the road to Chippenham, Alfred executed a 
flank movement to " Ethandune," now Heddington, 6 some eight miles off, 
where he took up his position on the slope of the Downs, facing Chippen- 
ham, to await the onslaught of the enemy. The struggle 
iieddSgton P rove d l° n & ar, d obstinate, but the invaders were finally 
worsted, and obliged to fall back on their camp at Chippenham. 7 
Fourteen days' beleaguerment brought them to terms. They gave hostages 
to evacuate Wessex. More remarkable was the undertaking given by 
Guthrum to conform to Christianity, doubtless as a pledge and earnest of 
his purpose of settling down as a peaceable English king. This promise 
was duly fulfilled within a few weeks. 8 Guthrum and thirty of his chief 
followers came to Aller, a few miles above Athelney, and were baptized, 
Alfred standing sponsor for his rival, and giving him the name of ^Ethel- 
stan. From Aller the party removed to Wedmore, near Wells, and there 
the chrysmal cloths of the neophytes were duly removed on the eighth 

1 Asser, Chron. 

2 " Thxr waes se guftfana genumen the hie Hrcefn heton." Chron. E, C, D. Mr. 
Freeman points out that " guthfana," 'battle-flag,' is the same word as "gonfalon." 
O. E. &., 122. 3 ' Alfred bade me [be] wrought.' 

4 Green, Conquest of England, no; Earle, Parallel Chron. , note. The jewel is pre- 
served in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. 5 Earle, sup. 

For these and other less likely suggestions as to the sites of Iglea and Ethandune see 
Earle, sup. In Domesday Heddington appears as Edinton. lb. 

7 Asser's narrative implies a retreat to an established position, as he tells us that 
yElfred "ante portas Paganicse arcis . . . castrametatus est." The Chronicles 
imply a retreat to some distance, as they say that Wilfred rode after the enemy. 

8 " Post hebdomadas septem." Flor. , apparently from Asser. * Within three weeks,' 

254 ALFRED [a.d. 878-884 

day. Thus the pacification has since been known as the Treaty of Wed- 
more. For twelve days in all the Danes were entertained by the King of 
Wessex. 1 

The evacuation of Wessex, however, was not effected in a day. The 
Danes remained at Chippenham over the winter of 878-879, of course 
living on the country. In 879 they moved to Cirencester, to 
Evacuated. q uarter themselves on the unfortunate Ceolwulf. In 880 they 
finally went back to East Anglia. We are told that they 
proceeded to ' deal' out the land among themselves, 2 but, as already men- 
tioned, the paucity of Danish names in East Anglia suggests that no 
extensive colonization took place in that quarter. 

On the retirement of the Danes from South-Western Mercia ^Elfred at 
once took possession of the country, placing it under the rule of the 
Ealdorman yEthelred, 3 to whom subsequently he gave his daughter yEthel- 
flasd to wife. England was now roughly divided into three districts, 
Wessex, Mercia, and " Denalagu," or ' Dane-law,' i.e. the lands where 
Danish law prevailed. 

Thus the victory at Heddington, if not crushing, was at any rate decisive 

in its results. The tide of Danish conquest was arrested, 

Turned. 6 an( ^ tne mture °f Wessex, and through it of England, was 

For some fifteen years Wessex remained in peace, broken only by 
occasional hostilities. 4 In 882 we hear of a naval action with four hostile 
vessels : two were captured and two destroyed. Two years later a detach- 
ment from the forces that were overrunning the Netherlands sailed over 
from the Scheldt to the Medway, and laid siege to Rochester. Alfred 
hastened to the rescue and drove the invaders back across the Channel. 
Having a fleet at sea, he sailed on to punish the East Anglian 
An p£|J ish Danes who had broken the truce. At the mouth of the Stour 
he destroyed thirteen " wicing " ships, but was finally repulsed 
by a superior armament gathered from various quarters. 5 

These actions give us a measure of what yElfred could accomplish on the 
sea. He has been called the founder of the English Navy ; he was 
certainly the first of English kings to attempt to defend his coasts at sea, 
but he had to enlist foreigners for the service : G and the reader may be 

1 Asser, Flor., Chron. The treaty between Alfred and Guthrum, printed Schmid, p. 
106, Thorpe, p. 66, and often called the Treaty of Wedmore, must be referred to a later 
date, probably 886. See Schmid's notes. For unction as part of the rite of baptism at 
this time see Earle's note, 307, citing Maskell. 2 Chron., etc. 

3 See Codex Dip. No. 311, a.d. 880; also No. 313; Birch, Cart. Sax., II. p. 166, 
1 72, etc. Oxfordshire, as well as the country of the Hwiccas, was under /Fthelred's rule 
from the first. 4 Asser, Chron. 

5 a.d. 884, Asser. The Chronicles and Florence give the year as 885, but it must be 
read 884, as all agree that it was the year of the deaths of Pope Marinus and King Karl- 
man. 6 Chron., a.d. 897. 

a.d. 884-886] THE SOLE ENGLISH KING 255 

told at once that down to the 16th century the existence of the Royal 
Navy was, at the best, but fitful and intermittent. 

Within the next two years, however, JElfred must have got the upper 
hand of Guthrum; as the well-known treaty between them, commonly 

supposed to have been executed at Wedmore in 878, seems to 
Wedmore belong t0 tn ^ s period. The Danish king agreed to keep to the 

East of a boundary line appointed to run as follows — namely, 
up the Thames to the mouth of the Lea ; up the Lea to its source near 
Hertford ; thence in a straight line to Bedford ; and thence again up the 
Ouse to the Watling Street, near Stony Stratford. 1 Of any boundary 
further North nothing is said. That would be a boundary between Alfred 
and the Mercian or Northumbrian Danes, and with that Guthrum was not 
concerned. Under this treaty London and the western half of the old 
kingdom of the East Saxons appear to have been made over to Alfred. 
The treaty also provides for complete social equality between Englishmen 
and Danes, but forbids foreign enlistment, or intercourse with the other 
side except for commercial dealings. It was clearly by virtue of this treaty 

that Alfred in 886 took peaceable possession of London, 
Rebuilt rebuilt it, and made it fit for habitation. 2 The Danes had left 

it a heap of ruins. As belonging to Mercia it was placed 
under the rule of Earldorman .Ethelred. 

England South of the Tyne was now fairly ranged under two flags, if not 
divided into two kingdoms. All Angles and Saxons not under Danish 

subjection took Alfred as their king. The Princes of South 
The o j g|g and Wales accepted his supremacy to escape the hostilities both of 

his Mercian subjects, and of the North Welsh, who were allied 
with the Northumbrian Danes. But even the Princes of Gvvynedd even- 
tually found it politic to seek the court of the King of Wessex. 3 More- 
over JElfred had this further advantage, that his England was one state ; 
the England of the Denalagu, as the Danish districts were collectively 
termed, was made up of many states, and within these the Christian 
element was beginning to assert itself. In 883 one Guthred, son of 
Hardacnut had been chosen King of Northumbria, that is to say of Deira, 
in succession to Healfdene, who had fallen on a last naval expedition. 

« x,. „~. Guthred, we are told, was in slavery at Whittineham, near 
■Guthred King. . . 

Alnwick, at the time of his election. He was, however, ot 

royal birth, and owed his election to the Christians, his promotion having 

been moved by Eadred, the former Abbot of Carlisle, who was still with 

the relics of St. Cuthbert at Craik. Guthred at once rewarded his sup- 

1 See the treaty, Schmid, 106 ; Thorpe, 66. I agree with Mr. Green that it must 
have been executed about the year 886 : Conquest of England, 149. Of the boundary 
between yElfred and the Northern Danes nothing is said, as that did not concern Guth- 
rum. 2 " Londoniam civitatem honorifice restauravit et habitabilem fecit." Asser. 

3 Asser, 488. 

256 WORKS OF PEACE [a.d. 886-889 

porters by re-establishing the See of Lindisfarne, and the bones of St. 
Cuthbert, at Chester-le-Street, near Durham. 1 Lindisfarne would be too far 
from Guthred's seat of influence; it was exposed to inroads from the 
Scots ; and Bernicia at this time was ruled by native chiefs in friendly 
relations with the House of Wessex, probably by Eadulf of Bamborough. 3 

The years of tranquillity that followed the retirement of Guthrum from 
Mercia enabled Alfred to turn his attention to those peaceful labours 
with which his name is so intimately associated. The amount to be done 
was appalling. All regard for law and order had disappeared. Many of 
the towns were in ruins ; whole tracts of land lay wasted. Learning had 
so utterly perished that even men who could read, at any rate men who 
could read Latin so as to understand what they read, were not to be found 
in Wessex. 3 In reorganizing his military system, rebuilding 
organization. t 9 wns > building ships, and fortifying strongholds, yElfred only 
did what other kings have been prompt to do. But we note 
as singularly characteristic of England the apathy on the part of his 
subjects with which yElfred had to contend in his efforts to make them 
arm betimes against future contingencies. The possibility of foreign 
invasion has always been the thing that Englishmen are most loth to con- 
template or provide against. So now yElfred was the only man in his 
kingdom who was not lulled into false security by the clearing of the 
horizon. He and he alone saw that the storm might break out afresh at 
any moment. We are told that bishops, ealdormen, and thegns had not 
only to be sharply reprimanded, but even at times actually punished for 
wilful neglect of orders in these matters. 4 

We may point out that the infliction of punishment on an ealdorman or 
a bishop implied an ascendancy hardly to be paralleled among Anglo- 
Saxon kings. 

But yElfred's zeal for education, for the diffusion of useful knowledge, 
for the cultivation of the mother tongue, were all his own. The writing of 

English prose dates from his time. Before him all prose 
Education. °. v . . . r 

writing was in Latin. After him w r e have a continuous succes- 
sion of English prose writers. But for teachers for himself and his people 
yElfred had, in the first instance, to look outside of Wessex. Among the 
first men of letters invited to his court were four Mercian priests — Western 

1 Symeon, II. D. £.,68,203; II. R., 114, 377, etc. Eardwulf was still Bishop. 
Reg. Sacr. Guthred's donation is represented as extending to all the land between the 
Tyne and Wear to the East of " Deorestrete," i.e. the Watling Street— a debatable land 
perhaps between Deira and Bernicia. 

2 Sym., I. 209 {Hist. S. Cuthbert). We have seen that the Danes kept out of Ber- 
nicia, appointing under-kings there : first Ecgberht, then Ricsig, and lastly another 
Ecgberht (A.D.876). Sym., II. in. From the time of his death (878) we know nothing of 
Bernicia till we come to Eadulf, of whom we only know that he was allied with /Elfred 
(Sym., sup.), and died in 912 (/Ethelweard, M.H.B., 520). His son Ealdred succeeded him. 

3 So the Preface to Alfred's Translation of S. Gregory's Pastoral Care, cited Stubbs, 
C. H., I. 238; and Asser, 474. 4 Asser, 492, 493. 

a.d. 880-892] EDUCATION 257 

Mercia having suffered less from Danish ravages than any other part of 
England. These men were Werfrith, Bishop of Worcester • 
Plegmund. Plegmund, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury (890-89*) ; 
and two of lesser note, by name ^Ethelstan and Werwulf. 
The revival of learning began under the primacy of Plegmund. From 
Grimhald across tne Channel Grimbald, from the Abbey of St. Bertin at 
St. Omer, and John 'the Old Saxon' l accepted invitations to 
the Court of Wessex. These two were monks ; the former specially skilled 
in chaunting and learned in matters of ritual. He was made 
Saxon. 6 Abbot of the king's New Minster at Winchester, placed along- 
side of the Old Minster, or Cathedral Church. His acquaint- 
ance with Alfred was said to date from the time of the king's first journey to 
Rome, 2 a further proof that Alfred was more than five years old at that time. 
Asser Lastly we have Bishop Asser, originally of St. David's, and 
afterwards of Sherborne, 3 Alfred's biographer, who was brought 
from Wales to act as reader to the king. 

Through these men Alfred established his school, which the nobility 
were invited to attend ; and through them he gave to the world the works 
that bear his name. None of these are original compositions ; they are 
one and all translations of books of established reputation. The list com- 
prises the Epitome of Orosius, as a manual of general history ; the Conso- 
lation of Philosophy of Boethius, as an ethical work ; the Pastoral of 
Gregory, as a theological text-book ; the Ecclesiastical History of Basda, as 
a national record. Passages clearly dictated by the king reveal his own 
co-operation in the work. 4 

To Alfred's zeal for national history and native literature we owe the 
The Win- ^ rst °^ our vernacular chronicles, the Winchester Chronicle, 
Chester which, whether originally composed in English or not, un- 
doubtedly owes its actual form to yElfred. 5 
A Code of Laws was also published by the king, compiled from the 
Codes of ^Ethelberht, Ine, and Offa, with some fifty provisions taken 
directly from the Book of Exodus. 6 But he attempted no 
iEtfred. original legislation, because, as he tells us with characteristic 
modesty, he knew not ' how it might like them that came after 

1 " Of Corvey in Old Saxony." Lapp., II. 69. The reader will not follow William 
of Malmesbury in confounding John the Saxon with John Scotus Erigena, the great 
intellectual light of the age, an Irishman, as his surname indicates, though his history is 
connected with the Court of Charles the Bald. 

2 See Bishop Stubbs, W. Malm., G.R., II. xliii., etc. 

3 After 892 ; Reg. Sacrum. 

4 See Green, Conquest of England, 162, 163 ; W. Malm., G. R., II. s. 123. 

5 The Winchester Chronicle, prior to the year 887, at any rate the part common to 
Asser (849-887), appears to have been originally composed in Latin, as embedded in 
Asser. The Chronicle in several places obscures the sense by mistranslations, the text 
in Asser being free from ambiguity. 6 Schmid, p. 58 ; Thorpe, p. 20. 

R. H. S 

258 ADMINISTRATION [a.d. 880-892 

him.' 1 But the mere fact of the fusion of ' dooms ' from Kent, Wessex, 
and Mercia to make one common law for all Englishmen, marked a 
distinct step in the direction of unification. 2 

Judicial business occupied a large portion of Alfred's time. Appeals 

to him must have been endless, as we are told that in the inferior courts 

the conflicting interests of the upper and the lower classes led 

J WorL al t0 sucn cont entions that no decisions gave satisfaction except 

those of the king. 3 In deciding cases we hear again, to his 

honour be it told, that Alfred was most anxious to protect the interests 

of the down-trodden peasantry, ' because in that country the poor had no 

friend but the king.' 4 

In Asser's account of these matters two further points seem to come out 
clearly : 

(1) That the ealdormen (comites) and reeves (propositi) held office by 
the king's gift — " Dei dono et meo" 

(2) That however popular the forms of procedure might be, the king 
held the presiding officers (Judices) and them only as responsible for the 
decisions of their courts. 

Alfred's interference with the patriarchal government of the magnates 

must have been bitterly resented by them. These feelings seem to find 

expression in the Lives of St. Neot, himself a kinsman of the 

Magnates, king, where we notice a distinct disposition to disparage 

Alfred. 5 In his own works he complains of ' sorrow ' from 

his own kindred. 6 

In dividing his day between his numerous duties Alfred had no clock 
to tell the hours for him. Time was marked by the burning of wax tapers 
of definite weight and length, the flame being protected from the draughts 
that pervaded hall and chapel by the wonderful contrivance of a horn 
lantern. His revenue was apportioned no less methodically than his time. 
Asser gives us the heads of the Royal expenditure, which in 
Expenditure tne first instance wa s broadly divided between civil and charit- 
able purposes. The Civil List comprised three heads, namely 
Household, Public Works, Largess to Foreigners. The maintenance of 
the Royal School and the Royal foundations at Athelney and Shaftesbury 
ranked as charitable expenditure. 7 

1 Schinid, p. 68 ; Thorpe, p. 26. 2 Green, Conquest of England, 145. 

3 " Propter nobilium et ignobilium utilitatem qui saepissime in concionibus comitum et 
pnepositorum pertinacissime inter se dissentiebant." Asser, 497. 4 db. 

5 See Gale, Scriptores Quindecim, I. 167 ; J. Whitaker, Life St. Neot, Append., 333, 
348, 353. These Lives, however, are hardly worth quoting ; one makes St. Neot a con- 
temporary of Elphege of Winchester, another of St. Dunstan, both belonging to the 
loth century. 

6 Alfred's Boethius., in Sharon Turner's Anglo-Saxons, II. 43, cited Green. 

7 Asser, 495. If only the good Bishop had given us the total of the Revenue for any 
one year our gratitude would know no bounds. 

a.d. 880-892] LEGISLATION 259 

The king's difficulties at Athelney illustrate the complete decay of 
Monasticism in England. Having founded a monastery there, he could 
get no grown-up Englishmen to enter it. Boys he got to be trained up 
for the future, but for the immediate services of the church monks had to 
be brought over from the continent. John the Old Saxon was placed at 
their head. With his nunnery at Shaftesbury Alfred had less difficulty, 
his daughter ^Ethelgifu being appointed abbess. 1 

yElfred has been credited with the introduction into England of the 
divisions of our shires, hundreds and tithings. 2 The word "scir" or 
'division' was applied in different parts of the country to very different 
things. But taking the word in its common acceptation as denoting a 
county, the original shires represented the primitive kingdoms or settle- 
ments ; and so the shires in the South of England do to this day. Alfred, 
of course, did not introduce these. In Mercia the original tribal sub- 
divisions were effaced by the Danish conquest. The existing shire- 
divisions must have been introduced after the re-conquest by Wessex in 
the 10th century ; the arrangement of the Northumbrian counties came 
still later, Yorkshire being "the only one of the existing subdivisions 
which dates as a shire before the Conquest." 3 In all this Alfred can 
have had no hand. With respect to hundreds and tithings we have seen 
that these were part of the primitive Germanic constitution. William of 
Malmesbury, however, seems to ascribe to ^Elfred the development of 
this organization, of which we shall hear as " frithborh," or 'peace-pledge,' 
mis-rendered 'frankpledge.' 4 Under this system the members of each 
tithing were made standing bail for the appearance of each member to 
answer any charge or demand. But this institution is clearly of later date 
than the time of ^Elfred. Nevertheless in his legislation we seem to trace 
an intermediate stage between this, the latest development, and the original 
form of the arrangement under which the relations ("msegas "), and the 
relations only, were interested in the doings of the family-member to the 
extent of sharing in the fines due to or by him. Alfred enacts that ' if a 
man who has no father-kin (" fsedren-maegas ") fights and kills a 
Enactments. man > then, if he have mother-kin (" medren-maggas "), let them 
pay one-third of the " wer," the "gegyldan" another third, 
and for the remaining third let the man himself flee. If he have no 
mother-kin then let the " gegyldan " pay half and for half let him flee.' 5 
This seems to be the first appearance of a class of "gegyldan," persons 
jointly interested in paying and receiving, outside the pale of the family. 6 

1 Asser, 495. 2 Kemble, Saxons, I. 247. 

3 Stubbs, Const. Hist., I. 122 (ed. 1883). 

4 " Centurias quas dicunt hundrez, et decimas quas thethingas vocant, instituit, ut 
omnis Anglus, legaliter duntaxat vivens, haberet et centuriam et decimam. Quod si 
quis alicujus delicti insimularetur, statim ex centuria et decima exhiberet qui eutn 
vadarentur, etc." G. R., II. p. 186. 5 Lazvs, c. 27. 

6 We have " gegyldan " mentioned in the Lazvs of Ine, cc. 16, 22 ; but there they are 


If this was due to Alfred it would account for the tradition attributing 
" frithborh " to him. 

But the organization of the hundreds and tithings was also directly con- 
nected with the "fyrd" or host; and in this respect it is highly probable 
that Alfred did introduce reforms, perhaps by rearranging the hundreds, 
but certainly by insisting upon the proper complement of defensible men 

being forthcoming in each district. 1 From the prominence 
organization. gi ven * n the records of the later military operations of the reign 

to ' kings' thegns ' we may further gather that Alfred endea- 
voured to keep the force more under his own control by appointing the 
subordinate officers as well as the ealdormen, instead of leaving the appoint- 
ment of the subordinates to the ealdormen. It further appears that he 
sought to arrange a system of reliefs by providing that one-third of the 
force should be liable for active service in the field ; another third for 
garrison duty 5 while the remainder stayed at home. 2 

Another development of the Royal authority may be traced in the 
gradual disuse as from this time of the recital of the sanction of the Witan 
in charters granting lands to be held as " bocland." Hitherto the theory 
had been that the special privileges of booklands could not be conferred 
without the assent of the community. From the middle of the 9th century 

the king does it of his own sole authority. 3 Strangers and 
Relations trave ^ ers were always welcome at the court of Alfred. 

With Rome he appears to have kept up a more regular 
intercourse than any of his predecessors. From Pope Marinus he obtained 
sundry privileges in favour of the Saxon School at Rome. 4 We also hear 
of an interchange of letters with Abel, the Patriarch of Jerusalem 5 ; and, 
most interesting to tell, of alms sent to the Christians of Southern India, 
known as the Christians of St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew. 6 This must 
have been quite the first subscription sent by any Englishman to Indian 

But Alfred was not destined to end his days without further trouble. 
In 892 7 his peaceful labours were interrupted by the contingency to which 

he doubtless had looked forward with constant dread : that of 
Inroads the renewal of tne Danish incursions. Gaul had never been 

free from their hateful presence. In fact for fifty years 8 she 
had endured them, now in the Garonne, now in the Seine, now in the 

clearly identical with the "msegas." Kemble, Saxons, I. 200. On this most difficult 
subject the reader may compare the article " Rechtsburgschaft " in Schmid's Glossary to 
his A. S. Laws. * See Gneist, Engl. Const., I. 7, 48. 

2 Chron., a.d. 894. So with the officers of the Household ; they were on duty by 
turns for one month in three ; Asser, 495. 3 See Earle, Land Charters, p. xx. 

4 Chron. A, a.d. 885, 888, 889. 5 Asser, 492 (a.d. 882-884). 

6 Chron. E, a.d. 883. For these Christians Sir T. D. Hardy refers to La Croze, 
Histoite du Christianisme des hides, 1758. See also S. Wheeler, Academy, 27 August, 
1892. 7 Given as 893, Chron. 8 Say from 843, the year of the Treaty of Verdun. 

a.d. 892-893] WAR AGAIN 261 

Somme or the Scheldt, with permanent head-quarters in the Loire. It 
was natural to anticipate that if at any time Gaul would no longer hold 
them, they might fall back upon Britain. In 890 an important division, 
expelled from Brittany, made their way round into Brabant, where they 
established a standing camp at Louvain. There again they were signally 
defeated by Count Arnulf l on the river Dyle (1 Sept., 891), a great day 
in Flemish history. In February, 892, they finally retired from Flanders, 
but only to turn up in England. 2 

Two forces landed on the South coast : one of 250 ships, perhaps com- 
manded by Biorn Jsernside, " the pupil and companion in arms " of the 

celebrated Hasten 3 : the other of 80 vessels, led by Hasten 

himself. The former entered the old Roman Portus Lemanis, 

and, sailing up the river Limen, now silted up and dry, 4 established them- 
selves at Appledore ; while Hasten, entering the Thames, entrenched 
himself at Milton (" Middeltune"). In these quarters apparently the 
invaders spent the winter 892-893. 5 

The spring of 893 ushered in a struggle of a desperate character, hard 
to follow, though not badly recorded by the chroniclers. Alfred had 
taken up a position between the two forces, to hold them in check, and 
prevent combined action. About Easter (31st March) the bulk of the 
Appledore force left their camp, and, threading the by-paths of the Forest 
of Andered, burst into Hampshire and Berks. But at Farnham they were 
met and checked by the king's son Eadweard, who had been 

Checked 8 P oste d on the north frontier, probably to watch the movements 
of the Mercian Danes. Driven backwards, the enemy retired 
along the London road, finally crossing the Thames, and taking up a 
position in the swamps of Thorney Island, 6 i.e. Westminster. Here their 
retreat was cut ofT by ^Ethelred the Mercian Ealdorman, who was in com- 
mand in London. The Danes then opened negotiations, and a treaty was 
made under which they retired to Mersea Island, at the mouth of the 
Colne ; the ships and the camp-guard left at Appledore joining them there. 7 
Meanwhile the king had come to terms with Hasten, who accepted a 
subsidy to evacuate Wessex, surrendering on his part his two sons for 

1 " Earmilf cyning," Chron. See Lapp., I. 341. 

2 See Martin, France, II. 427-491. Ann. S. Vedast., Pertz, I. 528. 

3 So Lapp., II. 75, citing Guido apud Alberic, A.D. 895. 

4 See Mr. Earle's note in his Parallel Chronicles, p. 315. 

5 Chronicle E gives the year of the landing as 892 ; the other chronicles give 893. 
But A entirely omits the year 892, while C and D fill up the gap by ascribing the Danish 
defeat at Louvain to that year, which is certainly wrong. /Ethelweard tells us that the 
invasion came in the year after that battle — "post annum." 

6 " Temesae ad partes Boreae ... in Thornige insula pali." 

7 ^Ethelweard. Conf. Chron. A. On the map a mound is marked on Mersea Island 
facing the approach from the mainland. 

262 RAIDS FROM THE THAMES [a.d. 893 

baptism. Alfred stood sponsor for the one and ^Ethelred of Mercia for 
the other. 1 

Wessex was now once more clear of invaders. But the English thought 
themselves bound to follow up their advantage. Hasten, no doubt, had 
evacuated Wessex only by crossing the Thames to Benfleet. It may be 
that Alfred did not consider this a proper fulfilment of the treaty : it may 
be that he had stipulated for a complete evacuation of Britain. Anyhow 
the English invaded the friendly territory of East Anglia, whereby the 

English Danes were brought into the field, 2 and the war 
Offensive. 6 assumec ^ mucn larger proportions. An English detachment 

laid siege to Mersea ; but before they had effected anything 
their time of service was up, and they marched home. Alfred was 
coming to relieve them with the ' shires ' that followed his personal banner, 
when he heard that a Northumbrian fleet was ravaging the coasts of 
Devon, and in fact besieging Exeter. Of course he had to hurry back to 
the relief of Exeter ; but part of his force went on to assist the Lon- 
doners in reducing Benfleet, where the invading head-quarters were now 

The next news was that the indomitable Hasten had sallied from Ben- 
fleet to lead Northumbrian and East Anglian allies on a wild raid up the 

valley of the Thames. But by the time that he had reached 
Hasten. tne basin of the Severn the whole West country had been 

raised against him. ' There were gathered yEthelred the 
Ealdorman (of Mercia), and ^Ethelhelm the Ealdorman (of the Wilsaetas), 
and iEthelnoth the Ealdorman (of the Sumorssetas ? ) 3 ; and the king's 
Thegns that at home were in the works, from every burh East of Parret, 
and as well from West as from East of Selwood ; and eke from North of 
Thames, and from West of Severn, and eke some deal of the North Welsh 
kin.' 4 

Hasten was followed up till he came to a stand at ' Buttingtune on 
Severn bank,' i.e. Buttington in Montgomeryshire, near Welshpool. 5 There 
he was kept beleaguered for some weeks, till most of his horses had been 
eaten, and then, starvation staring him in the face, he broke out and 

1 See the Chron. and Florence, the latter the better account of the two. 

2 The Chronicle in a general way charges the East Anglian Danes with having assisted 
their countrymen at Appledore and Milton, but nothing definite is brought home to 
them till after the attacks on Mersea and Benfleet. 

3 Freeman, O. E. H., 136. 4 Chron. 

5 Two other places have been suggested, viz. Boddington, near Cheltenham, which 
may be dismissed as not being on the Severn ; and Buttinton in Tidenham, opposite 
Chepstow, between the Wye and Severn, for which Mr. Earle contends {Parrallel Chron., 
318). But the Severn at that point is an estuary some two miles wide. How could the 
English blockade Hasten if he had got across such a piece of water ? At Buttington, 
Montgomeryshire, both the Dane and his besiegers would be on the east bank of the 

a.d. 893-895] TO THE SEVERN 263 

attacked his besiegers on the east bank of the Severn. A desperate en- 
gagement ensued, in which many King's Thegns are admitted 
Buttinffton to nave ^ a ^ en > Dut Hasten cut his way out, and, according to 
all the authorities, retreated to his ships in Essex ; and then, 
again, before winter, started on a fresh raid across Mercia, all the way to 
Chester. 1 

This sounds almost too much, even for a Hasten ; especially when we 

consider that if he made his way from Buttington direct to Chester, he 

would only have forty miles of road to traverse. But it is clear that 

whether after an intermediate ride to Essex or not, he took up 

occupied 6 " n * s Q uarters f° r tne winter in the ruined city of Chester, where 
again the old Roman walls supplied him with fortifications 
ready-made. 2 

Meanwhile Benfleet had been reduced by the English. Hasten's wife 
and sons having been captured, these were sent to Alfred, to serve as a 
basis for future negotiations with the veteran chief. The relics of the 
Benfleet force, however, again succeeded in drawing off to Shoebury 
("Sceobyrig") where they established a fresh stronghold. 3 

The year 894 proved a much less busy one, both sides being probably 
exhausted by their previous exertions. Ealdorman ^Ethelred kept Has- 
ten pretty closely confined to his walls at Chester, wasting the country 
far and near to cut off his supplies. In the spring Hasten abandoned 
Chester and moved into North Wales. But even the North Welsh, as we 
have seen, had begun to believe in Alfred. Getting no support in W'ales, 
Hasten drew off into Northumbria, and so made his way round through 
friendly territory into Essex. Dissatisfied with the position at Mersea, he 
boldly brought all his ships round into the Thames, and then, towing 
them up the Lea ("Lygan"), established a new position, 
HaSte L n ea Ptlie P robabl y at Walbury Camp, on the Stort, near Little Halling- 
bury, twenty-eight miles from London. 4 This move suggests 
that Hasten clung to the hope of a pacific settlement in Essex. 

Through the first half of the year 895 5 the Danes held their own 
against the Londoners ; but during harvest time ^Elfred came forward to 
protect his subjects while engaged in reaping. Riding along the river 
bank, we are told, he was struck with the idea of depriving the enemy of 
one means of locomotion, by drawing a dam across the stream below 

1 "Anre ceastre on Wirhealum, seo is Lega ceaster gehaten. " Chron. " Wir- 
healum " is the hundred of Wirral, between the Dee and Mersey. " Civitatem Legio- 
num . . . Saxonice Legeceastre. " Flor. 

2 Chron., Flor. Chester must have lain waste since the days of ^Ethelfrith, a.d. 615. 

3 a.d. 893 (given as 894), Chron., Flor. Traces of works are found at Shoebury, but 
not at Benfleet. 

4 These remarkable earthworks, which enclose some thirty acres, are the only fortifica- 
tions traceable on the line of the Lea. The Chronicle gives the distance as twenty miles 
from London, but this discrepancy is not serious. 5 Given as 896, Chron. 

264 ENGLISH SHIP-BUILDING [a.d. 895-896 

them, so as to cut off their ships from the sea. This having been accom- 
plished, the Danes, as if convinced that they were not to be 

^^l^ 1 ^ 1 allowed to settle so near the borders of Wessex, began to 
from Essex. _ ' ° 

withdraw from their camp. The bolder spirits started on a 
fresh raid through Mercia to the Severn, which they struck at " Cwat- 
brycge," 1 otherwise Quatford, two miles below Bridgenorth, where they 
built a 'work,' in which they wintered. The 'work' is yet there, on a 
rocky promontory overlooking the river, a little above the site of the old 
bridge. It might accommodate perhaps 200 men. 2 

Next summer the raiders made a final move back, via Northumbria, to 
the East coast, and the army broke up. Those who had saved something 
out of booty apparently invested it in stocking land, and settled down as 
farmers in Northumbria or East Anglia ; those who were penniless again 
enlisted for service abroad, and ' fared south over sea to [the] Seine ' ; and 
there, sure enough, we find them reappearing at this very time. 3 ' Thanks 
to God, they had not utterly broken the Angle-kin, but were themselves 
much more broken, with loss of cattle and men.' 4 The English, however, 
must have suffered terribly. Among the recorded losses of the four years 

were the Bishops of Rochester and Dorchester, the Ealdormen 
Losses. of Kent, Essex, and Hampshire (Hamtunscire). the King's 

Thegn of Sussex, the Town Reeve of Winchester, etc., etc. 5 
But the completeness of the riddance effected reveals the strength that 
Wessex had gained under Alfred. The supremacy of the Southern king- 
dom could only now be a question of time. 

The embers of war flickered on through the summer of 896 in the shape 
of desultory landings on the South coast. These deserve notice as bring- 
ing out once more the king's inventive resource. To master the Danish 
vessels he had ships built twice the size of theirs, with sixty oars and more, 
and made after a new model of his own designing, higher out of the water, 

and unlike either the Frisian or the Danish ships. 6 But 
Ships 11 dS Frisian seamen had to be enlisted to make up the crews. 
The king's ships, however, do not appear to have been quite 
a success. A detailed account of an engagement fought either in the 
Solent or Southampton Water shows that nine of the big new ships had 
much ado in coping with six of the Danish craft, the big ships being un- 
manageable, and getting aground in water where the Danes could move 

1 Chron. A and B ; i* get Bricge," C. 

2 Clark, Military Antiquities, I. 282, and the 6-inch ordnance map. When another 
bridge was built higher up the Severn, the latter was distinguished as the "Bridge 
North." The Danish stronghold consists of a conical mound, with a small camp 

3 a.d. 896 (given as 897) Chron. ; A.D. 896 Ann. S. Vedast., Pertz, I. 530. 

4 Chron. 5 Chron. 

6 See Append. A to this chapter. 

a.d. 896-900] DEATH OF ALFRED 265 

and act. 1 However in one way or another twenty Danish vessels were 
destroyed in the course of the summer. 3 With these events the records 
of the reign come practically to an end ; but we gather from a reference 

incidentally made to the restitution of Hasten's wife and sons 
tion. Ca " tnat some general pacification must have taken place. 3 It 

would also seem that at the death of Guthred (894), the Chris- 
tian Dane who ruled at York, Alfred was able to exercise some influence 
in Northumbrian affairs, at least so far as to obtain some recognition of 
suzerainty between the contending factions of English and Danes. But 
for ten years the country must have been in a state of utter anarchy, no 
king being recorded till we come to Reignwald, a pagan, in 912. 4 

About the 28th October, 900, the great king was gathered to his fathers, 
after a well-spent reign of nine-and-twenty years and six months. He was 

buried at Winchester, in the New Minster founded by himself, 
^ffiSSed' an< ^ com pleted by his son. The abbey is also spoken of as 

Grimbald's Minster, from the fact that he was the first abbot. 5 
By his Will, made in the time of Archbishop ^Ethelred (870-889), and 
duly published in a witenagemot, JFAfred disposed of his private posses- 
sions in land and money, leaving the largest share of each to his two 
sons, but not forgetting his wife or his daughters, or in fact anybody 
immediately connected with him. The sons got in money ^500 each ; 
the ladies ^100 each; charitable and other legacies bring up the total 
to something under ^2,000 in all. ' Truly,' adds the king, in his simple, 
straightforward style, ' I ne wot not if there be so much.' 6 

Alfred's legislation, as already mentioned, does not profess to introduce 
much that is new. Two further points, however, besides those already 
touched upon, may be noticed as disclosing a development of central 

authority. In his Laws we have the first mention of a king's 
Prisons. ' « „i 1 , 1 • • 7 

prison — " carcerne — a loan-word clearly pointing to the 

foreign origin of the practice of incarceration. Imprisonment, however, 

is not prescribed as a legal penalty, but as a mode of forcing a man into 

doing what is right. 

Again in Alfred's Laws we have the first notice of a king's " gerefa," 

1 Chron. A. The action seems to have been witnessed by the writer. All the entries 
for the last four years must have been written up very soon after the events. 2 Id. 

3 Flor., A.D. 894. Conf. Chron. 

4 Symeon, H. D. E., 71; Chron. and Flor., a.d. 894; ^Ethelweard, M. H. B., 518, 519. 

5 W. Malm., G. R., p. 193 ; yEthelweard ; Florence. yElfred's Minster was built on 
the north side of, and in very close proximity to, the Old Minster, in consequence 
whereof it was removed in 1 1 10 to the Hyde Mead, outside the city, and from that time 
was known as Hyde Abbey. See W. Malm., G. R., s. 124 ; Ann. Winton., in anno, 
and Liber de Hyda, xlv. (Rolls Series, Nos. 36 and 45) ; also the plan of Winchester 
below, vol. II. For the date of Alfred's death see Append. B to this chapter. 

6 See the Will, Cod. Dip. No. 314; and Earle, Land Charters, p. 144; also given 
with a translation Liber de Hyda, 52, 62, 327; and again Birch, Cart. Sax., II. 176, etc. 

7 Cap. 1, ss. 2, 6. 

266 ISSUE OF ALFRED [a.d. 900 

an officer who might preside in the " folces gemote," presumably in the 

absence of the ealdorman. 1 As every large landowner would 

have a "gerefa," a reeve, steward, or bailiff to look after his 

interests in each manor, so the king would have a " scir-gerefa," or sheriff, 

to look after his interests in the county. But from the passages cited we 

find that as early as the time of Alfred police and magisterial duties had 

been added to the original fiscal functions of the sheriff. Originally an 

adlatus to the ealdorman, in course of time he relieved him of almost all 

his authority. 

As evidence, perhaps, of the growth of the commerce of the Port of 
London, we have the establishment of a new wharf, partly enclosed by a 
wall, just below the present Blackfriars. This was the work of Alfred's 
son-in-law, the Ealdorman of Mercia, and after him was named "^Ethe- 
redys Hythe." 2 

By ^thelswyth, or Ealhswyth, who survived him (she died 905, Chron.), 
Alfred had issue : — 

(1) ^Ethelflaed, married to ^Ethelred, Ealdorman of the Mercians, by 
whom she had an only child, a daughter, ^Elfwyn. ^Ethelred died in 912 ; 
^Ethelflaed in 919. 3 

(2) Eadweard. 

(3) ^Ethelgifu, Abbess of Shaftesbury. 

(4) ^Elfthryth, married to Baldwin II., Count of Flanders, the son of 
Baldwin I. and Queen Judith. By this marriage ^Rlfthryth was destined 
to become the ancestress of Matilda, the wife of the Conqueror. 4 

(5) ^Ethelweard, died 16th October, 923. 5 He left two sons, ^Elfwine 
and ^Ethelwine, who both fell in the battle of Brunnanburh. 6 iEthelweard, 
who perhaps inherited his father's taste for books, was taught Latin. The 
education of the elder brother was not carried beyond the mother tongue, 
but he was carefully trained in all the duties of his station. 7 


An actual Wicking ship, found buried on the sea-shore at Gokstad in 1880, may be seen 
in the Museum at Christiania, in a very fair state of preservation. It is built of oak, 
about 78 feet long, and 16 feet wide, and 4 feet deep amidships. It has a high pointed 
stem and stern, getting wider and lower in the middle, just like a modern Norwegian 
rowing-boat. It has no deck, but a deck-house amidships, and one mast with a square 
sail. It is pierced for 16 oars on each side, with slides to close the little port-holes when 
the oars were not being used. It was steered by a rudder awkwardly rigged on the right- 
hand quarter, i.e. the "starboard" or " steerboard " quarter. The shields appear to 
have been set up on the gunwale on either side, being equal in number to that of the 
port-holes. The owner, who was buried in the ship, has been identified with one Anlaif 
— ' The Garstead Elf ' — a ninth century hero. Another vessel of the period has since 
been found buried in the Nydam Moss in South Jutland. It is 77 feet long, but only 10 feet 

1 cc. 22, 34. 2 See Cod. Dip. No. 1,074, a.d. 899. 3 Below. 

4 Asser, 485; yEthelweard, 499; Florence; W. Malm., G. R., 193; Freeman, 
O. E. H., 1 38 j Lapp., II. 85. 

5 Florence. 6 W. Malm., G. R., p. 218. 7 Asser, 485. 

a.d. 9 oo] WICKING SHIPS 267 

10 inches wide. Like the other vessel, it is built of oak. The planks are fastened to 
each other with iron nails, but are attached to the ribs by ropes passed through projecting 
"lugs" left in the planking. It has no keel. It is now at Flensborg. Academy, 28th 
March, 1896. The reader will notice that if Alfred's ships had sixty oars they are rightly 
described as being twice the size of the Northern craft. I do not think that we need 
estimate for the Gokstad ship more than a man to each oar, a steersman, and perhaps 
two or three more — say 35 men a-ship. 


Date of Alfred's Death 

Above, pp. 247, 265, the 28th October, 900, is given as the date of Alfred's death. For 
the day of the month I was in doubt between the statements of the Chronicles A, B, C, 
and D, and ^Ethelweard that he died ' six ' nights before All Saints' Day, or VII. Kal. 
Nov. (= 26th October) ; and the datum of the same Chronicles that JEthelstan, who 
passed away on the 27th October, 940 (VI. Kal, Nov.), died " butan anre niht " of the 
day of Alfred's death, apparently = 28th October. But my attention has since been 
called to the obits in the Calendars found in the MSS. Bodl. Junius 27 ; Cott. Galba A 
XVIII. ; Titus D XXVII. ; and Tiberius B. V. ; which settle the question in favour of 
the 26th October (see Mr. W. H. Stevenson, English History Review, XIII. 71). As 
for the year, the date that has usually passed current is 901, accepted on the strength of 
the prima \ facie evidence of the A. S. Chronicles and Florence who give that year. But 
it has been shewn that the date is simply due to the misplacement of a marginal year in 
the Winchester Chronicle, whereby the latter part of the entry for 891 came to be 
taken as the annal for 892, and then the record for 892 was entered under 893, and so on 
down to 929 (see Mr. Stevenson, above ; and Mr. Plummer's notes to his ed. of the 
Chronicles, a.d. 891). When this error has been corrected the witness of the 
Chronicles comes to be for the year 900. This is borne out by a testimony that alone 
should be conclusive, namely, that of two charters of the very year 900, when, as they 
tell us, Alfred died and his son Eadweard 'took the kingdom' {Cod. Dip. Nos. 1,076, 
1,077). There we shall find this Eadweard dying late in 924, after a reign of 24 years 
(see Errata to p. 277), showing an accession in 900 ; and again we have ^Ethelstan 
dying 27th October, 940, ' forty winters within a night from the time of Alfred's death,' 
the Chronicles thus ignoring their own miswritten 901, and taking 900 as the known 
date of the death. Against this year, however, support is found for 899. First there is 
the statement of the Chronicles that ./Elfred reigned 28^ years, supposed to date from 971, 
the undoubted year of his predecessor's death. Then ^Ethelweard asserts that Eadweard 
the Elder was crowned on Whitsunday (June 8), 900, throwing back his father's death 
to 899 at any rate. Thirdly, Symeon, representing an old North country chronicle, gives 
899, three times over, as the year of Alfred's death ; Hist. Regg. 90 and 120; H. D. E. 
71 (see Mr. Stevenson, sup.). But we do not know from what point of time the 
28J years were dated. They may have been reckoned from ^Elfred's coronation, and 
that may have been delayed for a year by the troubles of the period. In the case of 
^Ethelstan the Chronicles give a length of reign that implies an accession a full year 
later than that asserted by the King's own charters. They must have reckoned from some 
unrecorded coronation in Wessex, that may have been delayed till 925, by the opposition 
of ^Elfweard and Alfred. The hallowing on record took place at Kingston-on-Thames, 
outside the limits of Wessex, and would prima facie stand as a recognition by Mercia, as 
pointed out in the text. As for ^Ethelweard, his chronology is throughout confused and 
inaccurate. He seems to place Alfred's death four years after that of Guthred of 
Northumbria = 898. He gives 926 instead of 924 as the years of the death of 
Eadweard and the accession of /Ethelstan ; and as for Symeon on this question the 
authority of the Northern chronicle cannot be set against that of the South country 
records. See also my communication on the subject to the Athenceum of the 2nd July, 
1898. I learn from Mr. Stevenson, Athenceum, 16th July, 1898, that the Red Book of 
Canterbury, Birch, Cart. Sax. II. 317, gives the 4th September, 925, as the day of 
^Ethelstan's coronation : that would be the date of his coronation in Wessex. 


(Born circa 873 ? 2 Began to reign October, 900 ; died 924) 

Wessex Gaining Ground — Frontier Forts — Reduction of Mercia — Homage by Northern 


AT Alfred's death his son Eadweard, afterwards distinguished as the 
Elder, was proclaimed king of the ' Anglo-Saxons,' a style used by 
his father in the latter part of his reign. 3 As Eadweard had 
been chosen king in his father's lifetime, 4 there could hardly 
be any further question of election. It is rather singular therefore to hear 
that he was not crowned till Whitsunday 5 (31st May, 901), seven months 
after his father's death. An attempt to dispute the succession seems to 
have been the cause of this delay. yEthelred I., the elder brother of 
^Elfred, apparently left two sons, ^Ethelhelm and ^Ethelwold, both re- 
membered in their uncle's Will. Of the former we hear no more, but we 
may suppose him to have been the father of iEthelflasd, Eadweard's 
Queen. 6 ^Ethelwold at Alfred's death raised the standard of revolt at 
the royal vills of Wimborne and " Tweoxneam," or Twynham, now 
Christchurch, Hants. Eadweard called out the fyrd against him. ^Ethel- 
wold met his summons with a great flourish of trumpets, and then losing 
heart fled to Northumbria, where for a time he found a hospitable refuge 
among the Danes. 7 

In connexion with Northumbrian affairs we may notice the consecration 

in London of an archbishop for the province of York, namely ./Ethelbald, 

appointed to succeed Wulfhere, after eight years of vacancy. 8 

the North. The appointment however shows that in Deira too Christianity 

was reviving. 

After three years of retirement the ^Etheling ^Ethelwold reappeared on 

the coast of Essex (a.d. 904) ; and next year, at his instiga- 

Danes. ^ on ) Eohric, Danish king of East Anglia, invaded English 

Mercia raiding the country as far as Cricklade (Creccagelade), 

1 " Cognomento Senior" ; Flor. 2 He was the second child of Alfred ; Asser. 

3 " Angul-Saxonum rex." So Asser always, and the charters (after a.d. 882); Cod. 
Dip. Nos. 324, 1,065. Eor Eadweard's style, see Nos. 1,077 1,078. In the latter 
charter he explains " Angul-Saxonum " as being equivalent to " Gewissorum et Mercen- 
sium." 4 He signs as king in g 98> cod. Dip. No. 324. 

5 So /Ethel weard, 519 (given as a.d. 900). 6 See W. Malm. G. R. p. 197. 

7 Chron. A. 8 Sym., a.d. 892, 900; /Ethelweard, 519. 


a.d. 905-906] TREATY OF YTTINGAFORDA 269 

and even crossing the Thames into Bredon Forest, near Malmesbury. 
Eadweard, instead of attempting to pursue him, made a counter-raid into 
Danish territory, wasting the country ' between the dykes and the Oose 
(" Wusan ") as far North as the Fens.' The Dykes in question would be 
the well-known Cambridgeshire earthworks, already described; and the 
country overrun might comprise Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, as 
well as part of Cambridgeshire. 

The work of retaliation done, and the Danish army being reported as on 
its return, Eadweard ordered a prudent retreat. But the Kentishmen, who 
perhaps formed the rear-guard, disobeying orders, remained behind. The 
enemy closed round them and a desperate fight ensued. The English had 
the worst of it. But the loss of the two Ealdormen of Kent 1 was fully 
compensated by the fall of Eohric and the rebellious ^Etheling yEthelwold. 2 
Next year a formal pacification was signed at " Yttingaforda " (Fenny 
Stratford?) 3 between Eadweard and Guthrum II. of East Anglia. 4 The 

treaty believed to have been executed on this occasion is 

extant. 5 No boundaries are laid down, these probably re- 
maining as they had been settled by Alfred and Guthrum I. ; but on the 
other hand no jealousy is now evinced of intercourse between the two 
peoples. On the contrary, a common code of laws is provided to regulate 
their intercourse. This was not difficult, as the system of pecuniary fines 
for crimes was common to both nationalities. Offences committed by 
Englishmen are to be atoned for according to the English scale (wite) : 
offences committed by Danes according to the Danish scale (lah-slit). But 

the interesting thing is the full recognition of Christianity as 
ReccSSsed 7 tne estaDUSne d religion. Heathenism is abjured : Danes as 

well as Englishmen undertake to respect Feasts and Fasts, and 
to pay Tithes and other church dues. The recognition of the Church 
right of sanctuary ' within walls ' (cyric grith) is the first thing stipulated in 
the code. 6 

This treaty bears witness to that readiness in adapting themselves to 
circumstances that has often been noticed of the Scandinavians. In 

1 As Kent had two bishoprics, Canterbury and Rochester, for the two original king- 
doms of East and West Kent, so probably it had an ealdorman for each of these districts. 
Freeman, O. E. H., 140. 

2 A.D. 905., Chron. A ; Flor. ; conf. yEthelweard, A.D. 902. 

3 See the charter, Codex Dip/. No. 1,257, where Yttingaforda is described as a 
ford on a "street," i.e. a Roman way, the stream flowing past " Lincgelade," Linslade, 
near Leighton-Buzzard. 4 Chron., Sym., Flor. 

5 No time or place of execution are named in the document, and the treaty is intro- 
duced as that which ' ^Eelfred and Guthrum and eft Eadweard and Guthrum ordained.' 
Schmid, 118; Thorpe, 71. 

6 See Schmid and Thorpe, sup. The code implies the survival of a parochial priest- 
hood in the Danish districts. The Danish population does not appear to have been large 
in East Anglia, as already pointed out. In any case, however, the recognition of tithes 
by Danish landowners need not import more than that their tenants should pay them. 

270 FORTIFICATIONS [a.d. 907-912 

England they become Englishmen, in France they become Frenchmen, 
in Italy Italians. 

Whether the peace extended to the Northumbrian Danes may be con- 
sidered doubtful. At any rate hostilities were soon resumed in that quarter ; 
and in that connexion we ha^e the first of a system which 
Fortified. became the great mark of the reign, a system of defensive 
fortification till then utterly neglected by the English, and in 
fact only borrowed by them from the Danes. In 907 or 908 Eadweard 
renewed Chester, 1 a most important place if we consider its capabilities as 
a harbour, and its situation with reference to North Wales, Northumbria, 
and the districts of uncertain allegiance to the North of the Mersey. This 
step might easily cause friction and provoke counteraction on the part of 
the Northern Danes. But, whether as a measure of retaliation or other- 
wise, in 910 we find Eadweard sending a mixed West Saxon and Mercian 
force to raid for forty days in Northumbria. 2 In 911 we hear of a new 
fort established by ^Ethelflsed at " Bremesbyrig," perhaps Bromsgrove 3 ; 
and of a battle at " Teotanheale," Tattenhall, near Wolverhampton, events 
which may fairly be taken together. 4 

The action at Tattenhall seems to have been a mere engagement of local 
forces. The Danes' great effort came later in the year. Taking advan- 
tage of a time when Eadweard was engaged on the coasts of Kent 
equipping a fleet for some unrecorded purpose, they descended the left 
bank of the Severn as far as the Avon — ' the border of Wessex.' 5 Then 
they crossed the river, apparently returning up the right bank, and recross- 
ing at " Cantbricge " (Quatbridge ?). But Eadweard was ready and wait- 
ing for them at Wodnesfield, again near Wolverhampton, where 
WodnesfieM ne attac ked them and gained a decisive victory. Two kings, 
Eowils and Healfdene, fell on the field, besides jarls and 
" holdr " {worthies) of lesser note. 6 

In 912 ^Ethelred, the gallant loyal Ealdorman of Mercia, passed away. 
Eadweard took advantage of the opportunity to break up the under- 
kingdom, as it practically had been, taking London and Oxford ("Oxna- 
forda "), with the appurtenant districts, into his own hands ; but allowing 
the rest of English Mercia to remain under the government of his spirited 

1 907, Chron. B and C ; 908, Flor. Eadweard's fort stands to the South of the 
Roman city, close to the old Roman ford, by the modern castle and gaol. 

2 Chron., Flor. 

3 A small fort is traceable at the South end of the town. 

4 911, Flor. ; 910, Chron. B, C, D. In the conflict of authorities as to the date I 
follow Florence. If the action took place in 910 it may have been an attack on the 
raiders on their way home from Northumbria. 

5 " Ad afne fluenta ubi inchoat occidentalium terminus Anglorum." /Fthelweard. 

6 5th August, 911. ^Fthelweard, Chron., Flor. For "Cantbricge" the editors of the 
M. H.B., suggest Cambridge Inn, between Berkeley and Gloucester ; but that is a long 
way from Wodnesfield. 

a.d. 9 1 2-9 1 4] EXTENSION OF WESSEX 271 

sister ^Ethelflaed, 'the Lady of the Mercians.' The incorporated district 
would include modern Buckinghamshire, Middlesex and part 

M di?ided Ub " of Herts ; in fact " the lower valle y of the Thames." 1 The 
mound-fort at Oxford may date from this period if not from an 
earlier one. 2 

^Ethelflaed shewed her fitness to govern by carrying on the work of 
fortification with which her name was already associated. In May, 913, she 
secured a position at " Sceargeate," a locality which as yet has eluded 

identification ; and, later in the year, at " Bricge," ' on the 
Mound Forts. . . . , ' , „ _. . e ° ... 

west bank of the Severn. 6 I he importance of controlling the 

passage of the Severn had been shewn only two years before. But the 

" burn " was not established at Quatford, nor yet at Bridgenorth, but at 

Oldbury, between the two. 4 

Eadweard now thought himself at liberty to tear up the treaty of 906 ; 

and, crossing the border line accepted by his father, proceeded to establish 

a fort at Hertford, on the North side of the Lea, between the Maran and 

the Bean. 5 The work was carried on through the winter, a second 

"burh" being added in the spring on the South, or English side of the 

river. 6 As the works at Chester had been followed by hostilities with the 

Northumbrian Danes, so those at Hertford led to rather futile 
War again. 

reprisals on the part of the Mercian Danes. After Easter (17th 

April, 914) we hear of a dash across the Watling Street made by men from 

Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, and pushed as far as " Hocneratune," 

Hook Norton, in Oxfordshire ; while again we are told of an inroad 

through Bedfordshire down to " Lygtune," probably Luton at the head of 

the river Lea. 

These marauders having been dispersed and driven home, the king 
moved on to Maldon, and remained there while another fort was being 
established at Witham. By the erection of this work a new frontier 
was secured, Southern Essex becoming English territory, while the Danes 
were thrown back on the line of the Colne. 7 

Meanwhile yEthelflaed in the North was securing the line of the Watling 

Street. In the course of the year she first built a fort at 

^th^No^tl? Tam worth, the old Royal vill, at the point where the direct 

road to Chester leaves the Watling Street proper, which, as 

1 Chron. A. 

2 The work must be held posterior to the occupation of Mercia by /Ethelred in 880. 

3 Flor. (a.d. 912, Chron. B, C, and D.) 

4 ^Ethelflaed's work may be identified either with the mound known as Pan Pudding 
Hill, or, more likely, with the smaller mound in the village of Oldbury. See Clark, 
Military Antiquities, I. 281. 5 Flor., Chron. 

6 No trace of the mound on the North side remains, but the southern mound with its 
base court surrounded by a ditch have been preserved by incorporation with the castle. 
See Clark, Military Antiquities, II. 119, and the plans there given. 

7 Flor. ; Chron. B ; C, D ; Green, Conquest of England, 198. 

272 "THE LADY OF THE MERCIANS" [a.d. 914 

originally laid down, made for Wroxeter, in the Severn Valley, the Roman 
Uriconium, from which point later extensions took it on to Chester and 

the North, ^Ethelflaed's mound at Tamworth may yet be 
Tamworth. seen on the north bank of the river Anker, near its 

junction with the Tame, commanding the passage at Bole 
Bridge. A little later in the summer 1 she secured another strategic point 
by piling up a second burh at Stafford (" Stafforda") on the north bank 

of the Sow, an affluent of the Trent. A Danish advance up 
Stafford, the Trent Valley was now fairly barred 2 ; while further North 

the highlands of the Peak offered a natural frontier extending 
to the basin of the Mersey. To guard against attack from beyond the river 
we find her next year fortifying " Eadesbyrig," Eddisbury Hill, in the 
Forest of Delamere, in Cheshire 3 ; while to the South an attack along the 
Foss way was blocked by the construction of another hold at Wceringwicum, 

Warwick. The remarkable mound at Brinklow, near Rugby, 
Warwick, not far from the Watling Street, may be regarded as a Danish 

counterwork to the English border fort at Warwick. 
These works apparently consisted simply of earthworks and palisades. 
The typical " burh " of the ninth and tenth centuries consisted primarily of 
" a truncated cone of earth . . . from twelve to fifty or sixty feet 
high." This mound was surrounded by a deep ditch, which again was 
encircled by an exterior rampart. Connected with the mound is usually 
a "base court" or enclosure, also surrounded by earthworks and ditches. 
The crest of the mound was probably surrounded by a palisade, inside 
which stood the residence of the lord. Access to the summit was 
provided by a plank bridge supported on timbers, and carried from the 
crest of the outer rampart to the top of the mound. 4 

At this point the work of castle building was interrupted by the 
unwelcome apparition of a Danish fleet on the South- West coast. The 

invaders came from " Lidwiccum," i.e. Brittany. 5 Florence 
invasion °^ Worcester would identify them with the men who nineteen 

years before had been driven from England to find quarters 
in Gaul. At any rate we may take them to be some of those who, having 
failed to obtain settlements in " Normandy " under Rolf, had been 
harassing Brittany since the treaty of Clair-sur-Epte. 6 Rounding the 
Land's End, they entered the Severn, and began plundering Glamorgan 
and Gwent. " Cymelgeac " (Cyfeiliawg), 7 Bishop of Llandaff, fell into 

1 " To hlafmaessan," i.e. at Lammas, 1st August. 

2 A.D. 914, Flor. (913, Chron. B and C). 

3 Triple earthworks of irregular configuration, but without any mound, may be seen 
there, just to the North of the continuation of the Watling Street. 

4 See Clark, Milita?y Antiquities, I. 16-34. 

5 An interpolation in one MS. of Nennius gives " Letewiccion " as another name for 
Armorica, with a very popular etymology, p. 21 (ed. Stevenson) ; Earle, Parallel 
Chron., 322. 6 A.D. 911-912 ? 7 Haddan and Stubbs, I. 209. 

a.d. 915-917] END OF A CYCLE 273 

their hands, a notable prize, to be presently redeemed by Eadweard for 

40 pounds of silver. Advancing up the right bank of the river, the 

Danes were met by the men of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire at 

" Ircingafelda," clearly the Archenfeld of Domesday, or southern part of 

the county of Hereford bordering on Wales. 1 The invaders 
Defeat, suffered a defeat, losing Ohter and a brother of their other 

leader Hroald. The survivors took up a position in a " park," 
i.e. an enclosed grass-field, where they were beleaguered till they gave 
hostages to evacuate the territories of the King of Wessex. The result 
was the old one, namely, that they ' bestole them away by night ' to 
find landing-places elsewhere. But Eadweard was watching their move- 
ments on the opposite bank of the Severn, at the mouth of the Avon, so 
they were forced to sail on to the Somersetshire coast, where they made 
descents at Watchet and Porlock. But they failed to establish a footing, 
and were driven off to one of the islands in the Bristol Channel, either 
Flatholm or Steepholm. There 'meat' {provisions) soon failed them, so 
they sailed on to " Deomedum," i.e. the country of the Demetce, Dyfed, 

now Pembrokeshire. Finally they went off to Ireland, 
Expulsion. a ^ va y s tn e last resort. ' And this was on harvest time.' 2 

So ended what we may call the first cycle of Northern 

After a short breathing-time, Eadweard resumed his cautious, resolute 
advance towards the subjugation of the Danelage and incorporation of all 
England. Before the year (915) was out he had established two burns at 
Buckingham, one on each bank of the Oose, 3 " on one of which afterwards 
stood Earl Giffard's keep/' 4 The submission of one Jarl Thorkill, and 
many of the 'eldest' men from Bedford and Northampton, followed. 
Next year came the actual occupation of Bedford, and the building of its 
burh, the future site of Beauchamp's Keep. Again a second work was 
thrown up on the opposite or south bank of the river Oose. 5 ^Ethelflaed 
meanwhile was doing her share of work in the North, securing her borders 
by fortifications at " Cyricbyrig," Chirbury, in Shropshire — just inside the 
line of Offa's Dyke — " Weardbyrig " and " Rumcofan " (Runcorn). In 

917 we hear of the king recovering and refortifying Maldon, 7 

^Progress 011 a P roof that lt had fallen back under Danish influence since 
914. Jarl Thorkill, finding the situation intolerable, threw up. 

1 For the customs of Archenfeld, see Domesday, 179. 

2 Chron. B, C, D ; Flor. (a.d. 918, Chron. A). 

3 Id. 4 Clark, Military Antiqq., I. 21. 

5 Id. Of double mounds to command the passage of a river, the only pair still trace- 
able are those at York. Id., 22. 

6 916, Flor. ; Chron. B and C, p. 186, ed. Thorpe; a.d. 919, Chron. A. I have 
failed to identify Weardbyrig ; but between Chirbury and Chester the map is studded with 
primitive forts and camps. At Runcorn the site of a small castle is marked by the wate 
side touching the railway bridge. 7 No fort seems now traceable at Maldon. 

R. H. T 

274 THE LADY JETHELFLjED [a.d. 917-918 

his possessions in England, and, with Eadweard's entire consent, went over 
sea to find pleasanter quarters " on Fronclond," as we may suppose among 
his brethren in Normandy. 1 Hitherto ^Ethelflsed had, so far as we can see, 
kept on good terms with the Welsh, respecting their borders. Now of a 
sudden, a quarrel broke out between her and the King of South Wales, 2 
presumably Howel Dha, though his name is not mentioned in connexion 
with the incident. 'The Lady' acted with her usual vigour : she sent a 
force to " Brecenanmere " (Brecon), stormed the town, and carried off 
* the King's wife ' with some four and thirty followers. 3 

In 918 the struggle with the domestic Danes entered on a new and 
more active phase ; in fact the year became the turning-point in the reign 
and the fortunes of Wessex. Eadweard began by building forts at Tow- 
cester, on the Watling Street, and at " Wigingamere," perhaps " Waymere 
Castle, on a small island near Bishop's Stortford."* A fort at Towcester 
was a direct menace to Northampton, Leicester, and Huntingdon — 
Danish strongholds. 5 The population of all three places flew to arms. 
The men of Leicester and Northampton attacked Towcester ; 
Repulses being repulsed, they pushed a raid into our Buckingham- 
shire, wasting the country between Brill, Bernwood Forest, 
and Aylesbury. The men of Huntingdon advanced to Tempsford, 
between Biggleswade and St. Neots, where they established a counter- 
work ; and then proceeded to lay siege to Bedford ; while a mixed 
force from Essex, East Anglia, and Mercia attacked Waymere. Both 
attempts failed signally. Eadweard then assumed the offensive, and, 
advancing against Tempsford, stormed the place, putting the Danish king 
of East Anglia and two or three jarls to the sword. G But the chief laurels 
of the year were again won by the martial Lady, who, on the 1st August, 
carried the town of Derby by storm, four of her most ' cared 
Stormed. for ' Thegns falling on the breach. 7 Eadweard's achievements, 
though in themselves far from inconsiderable, read tamely in 
comparison with this. His deeds included the siege and capture of 
Colchester ; the repulse of an attack on Maldon, in which ' wiring' auxili- 

1 Flor. (a.d. 920, Chvon. A). 

2 ' Rex Britonum.' Howel Dha became king of South Wales in 909 ; Haddan and 
Stubbs, I. 211 ; Ann. Camb> 

3 a.d. 917, Flor. (916, Chron. B and C). I still follow the chronology of Florence, 
who evidently took pains to harmonize and correct the varying dates of the earlier 

4 Flor. ; Thorpe; (a.d. 921, Chron. A). A plan of the Towcester fort, "Bury 
Mount," is given by Mr. Clark, Military Antiqq., I. 21. 

5 The fort at Northampton has been destroyed. At Leicester we have the Castle 
Mount, on the Soar ; and at Huntingdon the Castle Hill, an irregular enclosure on the 

G Flor. (Chron. A, 921). 

7 a.d. 918, Flor. (917, Chron. B, C, D). 

a.d. 9 1 3-92i] DANISH MERC 1 A REDUCED 275 

aries took part ; the building of another fort at Passenham, 1 near Stony 
Stratford ; and the occupation of Huntingdon. The year 
of ended with the submission of the men of Cambridge, and in 
Cambridge. fact of aU the country t north t0 the Welland.' 2 

The neck of the Danish resistance was thus broken, and Eadweard's 
future campaigns might almost be described as progresses in arms. 

In 919 again yEthelflced was first in the field, taking 'peaceable ' posses- 
sion of Leicester. The submission of the ' most deal ' of the men of the 
appertaining districts ensued. But this was her last triumph. On the 
12th June she passed away at Tamvvorth in the eighth year of her rule, the 
most remarkable woman of the whole Anglo-Saxon era. 3 

Eadweard at the time was at Stamford, building a fort on the south bank 

of the Welland, 4 to confront the Danes established on the north bank. 

On hearing of his sister's death he hastened to Tamworth to take the 

government of Mercia into his own hands. ^thelflsed had left 

« in ifand " ^y ^Ethelred an only child, a daughter, ^Elfwyn : but Eadweard, 

very prudently, refused to recognise her claims. 5 Localism 

had been, and for a century and a half was destined to be, the curse of 


At Tamworth Eadweard received the submission of three Welsh kings, 
Howel, Clydawg, and Idwal. The year closed with an advance to Notting- 
ham, where the king established a mixed population of English and Danes. 6 

The ensuing year (920) was marked by the establishment of a fort at 
Thelwall, 7 on the Mersey, near Runcorn ; and of an outpost at " Mame- 
ceaster " (Manchester) ' in Northumbria ' ; while the year after that wit- 
nessed the construction of a second town at Nottingham ' on the south 
half of the Trent, with a bridge to connect it with the existing town and 
burh on the north bank. 8 From Nottingham Eadweard advanced to 
"Peac-lond" and established one more post at " Badecanwiellon," (Bake- 
well). 9 Here his successes were supposed to have reached their climax in 
the submission of a host of Northern potentates and tribes. 
We are told that ' the King of Scots and the Scottish people, 

1 No fortifications are now traceable at Passenham, but they were traceable formerly. 
Baker, Northamptonshire, II. 191. - Flor., Chron. A. 

3 919, Flor. ; "xii. nihtum cer middansumera " ; "pridie Id. Junii" ; Chron. B, C, D 
(918). The chronology of Florence is here borne out by the A. S. Chronicles, which, while 
recording the death of yEthelflced under 918 and 922, agree that she died in the eighth year 
of her rule, her husband having died in 912. She was buried at St. Peter's, Gloucester, 
in the east " portice " (chancel). The Minster had been built by her and ^Ethelred, and 
the bones of St. Oswald translated thither from Bardney, A.D. 907-910, Chron., Flor., 
W. Malm., G. R., p. 196. 4 A "Castle" is still marked there on the map. 

5 Flor. (922, Chron. A). .Elfwyn remained awhile at Tamvvorth, but in the ensuing 
year she was sent into Wessex ; Chron. B, C, D. 

6 Flor. (922, Chron. A). 7 Nothing seems to remain. 

8 The "Castle," a conical mound on the north side of " Trentbridge," may yet be 
seen. 9 A small mound, " Castle Hill." 

276 ALLEGED HOMAGES [a.d. 921 

and Regnald, and the sons of Eadulf, and all the dwellers on Northumbrian 

whether English, Danes, or Northmen, and the King of Strathclyde, and 

all the Strathclyde Welsh,' took Eadweard ' to father and lord/ x The 

personages in question can all be identified. The King of Scots would be 

Constantine, son of ^Edh ; and the King of the Strathclyde Britons would 

be his brother Donald, elected in succession to another Donald, a Briton. 2 

Since the fall of the English kingdom of Northumbria the 

Steattwiyie. whole South-West side of the Island from the Clyde to the line 

of Whitehaven and Red Cross on Stainmore had been or was 

being merged in Strathclyde, now also styled " Cumbria." 

Eadulf, or Ealdwulf, of Bamborough, we have seen, was the native Ealdor- 
man or High-Reeve of Bernicia, an ally of the House of Wessex. He had 
died in 912 or 913 ; 3 leaving two sons, Ealdred and Uhtred, who kept up 
a friendly alliance with Eadweard, as their father before them had done. 4 

Raegnall, or Reingwald, was a grandson of Ivar, and of course a pagan, 

of whom we hear in the year 914 as contending for mastery with a 

countryman in a naval action off the Isle of Man (Manann). In 917 he 

and Sihtric, another grandson of Ivar, and to all appearance his brother, 

were on the coast of Leinster, when Sihtric became King of Dublin. 

Reingwald then went over to Great Britain, attacking Ealdred in Bernicia. 

Constantine and the Scots came to the rescue. A pitched battle ensued 

at Corbridge l on the banks of the Tine in North Saxonland.' 5 Moving 

southwards, Reingwald occupied the patrimony of St. Cuth- 

^atYork 1 * 1 b ernt > finally establishing himself in 919 at York, where he 

was reigning at the time that we have reached. 

That the contending Northumbrian parties should be ready to bid for 
the support of the victorious King of Wessex need excite no surprise. 
Nor can we wonder that the Welsh Kings living on Eadweard's frontier 
should think a submissive attitude prudent policy. If ' Strathclyde ' was a 
political expression for all the Celtic population of the West coast from the 
Clyde to the Mersey, we might again understand a wish on their part to 
disarm West Saxon hostility ; and it may be that Constantine did come 
forward on behalf of his brother. From any other point of view the con- 
duct ascribed to him passes comprehension. Eadweard's 
Scottish most advanced outpost, Manchester, was 180 miles, as the 

Homage. crQw ^^ frQm the Fortn< He had never set f 00t \ n Deira, 

much less in Bernicia. Constantine had no domestic difficulties to 

1 a.d. 921, Chron. A (given as 924) ; Flor. 

- Chron. Picts and Scots, 9. Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 339, 347. 

3 ^Ethelweard, M. H. B., 520; Ann. Ulster., a.d. 913, where he appears as " Etulbb," 
* King of the North Saxons.' 4 Sym., I. 209 {Hist. Culhb.). 

5 Ann. Ulster., a.d. 914, 9T7, 918. Symeon, H. D. E., Auct. 209; Chron. Picts 
and Scots. 

c Symeon, sup., 73, 209, 210; H. R., 93. A second battle at Corbridge is recorded, 
in which Ealdred fell. 

a.d. 921-924] DEATH OF EADWEARD 277 

contend with, and the Danish inroads in North Britain as well as South 
Britain had for the time come to an end. Yet we are asked to believe on 
the authority of a single chronicler 1 that Constantine came all the way from 
Scone to Bakewell to make a gratuitous surrender of his crown and people, 
the only suggested motive being protection from the Danes, who at the 
time, were not in the field. 2 The matter however, so far as national 
honour on one side or the other is concerned, is of little importance, as we 
shall find substantial grounds for holding that a few years later Constan- 
tine did recognise an overlordship in Eadvveard's son ^Ethelstan. 3 

On the other hand, if we pause to compare the position to which 

Eadweard attained in the year 921 with that to which his ancestor Ecg- 

berht had attained in 829, when submission was made to 

Dominion. mm at Dore, a place, by the bye, not many miles from Bakewell, 

we shall find a notable advance to record. The agonies of the 

last hundred years had not been suffered in vain. " Ecgberht's immediate 

kingdom stopped at the Thames " ; while that of Eadweard must have 

extended on the east side of the Watling Street to Bedford and the Oose, at 

any rate ; and on the west side of the Watling Street to the Mersey. The 

nominal overlordship of each on the east coast might be said to extend 

to the Forth ; but Eadweard's influence over the vassal districts was of a 

substantial character, and in the hands of his son it assumed a still more 

definite shape, while the suzerainty of Ecgberht, as we have seen, proved 

•simply ephemeral. 

Three years later Eadweard died at Farndon, in Northamptonshire, 4 in 
the twenty-fourth year of his reign, and was buried beside his 
father at Winchester, in the New Minster, begun by Alfred 
and finished by himself. 5 

1 The submission of the Kings of Scotland and Strathelyde in 921 only rests upon the 
original authority of the Winchester Chronicle (A), copied by the other A. S. Chronicles, 
by Florence, and by Symeon in that part of his history which is taken from Florence. 
Nothing of it appears either in his Hist. Duuelm. Eccl. or in the 10th century Chronicle 
("the Cuthbertine ") incorporated in his Hist. Regum. On the contrary Symeon dis- 
tinctly asserts that .Ethelstan was the first of English kings whose overlordship extended 
to the whole Island. " Primus regum totius Britanntae adeptus estimperium " (I. p. 74). 
./Ethelweard again knew nothing of any overlordship of Eadweard. We may add that 
the erroneous chronology of the Winchester Chronicle for the reign of Eadweard shows 
that it was not written up at or near the time. 

2 See Freeman, A'. C, I. 57. 

3 In any case Mr. Freeman's view that the transaction at Bakewell amounted to a 
deliberate commendation of Scotland seems quite exaggerated. See A 7 ". C, I. 57, 118, 
565. Mr. Green inclines to the view that the alleged submission to Eadweard is 
merely borrowed from the submission to his son ; Com/, of \E., 220. 

4 " On Myrcum ost Fearndune" ; Chron. C, D. Faringdon would be in Wessex. 

5 A.D. 924, Flor. ; Chron. B, C, D, and E ; W. Malm., G. R., I. p. 204. (a.d. 925, A). 
The New Minster was hallowed in 903; Chron. F (Domit. A, VIII.; Thorpe , 
p. 181). 

273 CHARACTER OFEADWEARD [a. d. 900-924 

Eadweard was no unworthy son of the great king, a man, like him, of 
broad views, and sober steadfast purpose ; a wise and successful ruler. 
Florence of Worcester held him only inferior to his father in the matter of 
his literary tastes. 1 That he had a definite ecclesiastical policy may be 
gathered from the fact that he created three new dioceses in Wessex. 
Denewuif, Bishop of Winchester, having died in 909, and Asser, Bishop of 
Sherborne, shortly afterwards, 2 the Sees of Wells, Ramsbury, and Crediton 
were called into existence, thus providing a bishop for each shire of which 
the kingdom consisted. 3 It will be remembered that the subdivision of 
unmanageable bishoprics was one of the primary aims of Archbishop 
Theodore's policy. Other prelates having died about the same, time, 
it came to pass that Archbishop Plegmund was called upon to consecrate 

the unparalleled number of seven new bishops, all in one 
EC< Affafrs tlCal ^ atc ^' 4 Plegmund himself passed away in 914, and was 

succeeded by an occupant of one of the new sees, ^Ethelhelm, 
previously the first Bishop of Wells. 5 He, again, died in 923, and then 
the second Bishop of Wells, Wulfhelm, became Primate. 

Eadweard also enacted a few laws, besides the international code 
enacted or re-enacted to regulate the dealings of the English and Danes. 7 

Perhaps the only strictly novel provision was one requiring all 

sales of goods to be made in ' ports,' i.e. walled towns, and, if 
possible, in the presence of the Port-reeve, a requirement clearly connected 
with Eadweard's system of fortifying towns as centres of resistance to 
foreign invasion. 8 In this aspect the law may be compared with the 
ordinances under which the Calais Staple was established by Edward III. 
Again the primary judge in all criminal courts now appears to be the 
" gerefa," doubtless the shire-reeve or sheriff, a proof of the extension of the 
authority of that royal officer. 9 He is required to hold his courts once in 
every four weeks : those would be the courts of the hundred. Lastly we 
have the first reference to the ordeal (ordal), but not as a novel institution ; m 
and also reference to something like a general system of " borh," or mutual 
guarantees for good behaviour. 11 Of both of these we shall hear more by- 
and-bye. The Laws of Eadweard breathe a simplicity of tone passing 
even the simplicity of Alfred, simple-minded man as he was. Eadweard 

1 "Litterarum cultu patre inferior," I. p. 117. 2 Flor. ; Chron. A, C, D. 

8 Kent had its two Sees, Canterbury and Rochester ; Sussex had Selsey ; Hampshire, 
Winchester ; Dorsetshire, Sherborne ; Somersetshire, Wells ; Devonshire, Crediton ; 
whilst Wilts and Berks were conjoined to form the See of Ramsbury. 

4 W. Malm., G. R., I. p. 204. See Stubbs, Reg. Sacrum, p. 13, and Const. Hist., I. 
259, Also more fully W. Malm., G. R., II. liv. /Ethelstan was the first Bishop of 
Ramsbury, ^ithelhelm of Wells, and Eadulf of Crediton. 

5 Flor ; Reg. Sacr. G Reg. Sao: 7 Schmid, no, 11S. 

8 Laws, I. c. 1 (Schmid). The regulation, however, was abolished under /Ethelstan 
as being too stringent. 9 Id., I. Introduction, and II. cc. 2, 8. 

10 I. c. 2 ; also Laws of Eadweard and Gu/hrum, c. 9. n II. c. 3. 

a.d. 900-924] HIS ISSUE 279 

wonders if any man could be so ' evil ' as to pledge another man's goods 
to answer his own misdeeds ; or if any one could think of interfering with 
another man's land ; and he appears to require all landowners to keep 
a man or men always in readiness to assist persons coming in quest of ' their 
own.' x But he clearly intimates that peace-breaking, perjury, and robbery 
were the great evils that he had to contend with. 

Eadweard left by three different mothers a family of five sons and nine 
daughters. Of these children no less than nine attained to regal or quasi- 
regal positions. By Ecgvvyn, politely styled by Florence Mulier 
The King's m bffi ss i mat but apparently a shepherd's daughter, whose ac- 
quaintance Eadweard made as a young man when paying a 
visit to his former nurse, 2 he had 

— .^thelstan, and 

— A daughter, afterwards married to Sihtric, Danish King of York. 3 
By his first lawful wife, ^Ethelflaed, daughter of" Ethelmus comes" pre- 
sumably .Ethelhelm or ^Ethelm, son of ^Ethelred I., 4 he had 

— yElfweard, who died at Oxford fifteen days after his father. 5 

— Eadwine, 6 of whom hereafter. 

— .Ethelflsed, a nun, buried at Wilton. 

— Eadgifu I., married first, a.d. 919, to Charles the Simple, " King 
of the West Franks," by whom she had a son, Louis IV., surnamed 
d? Outremer \ and secondly to Herbert Count of Troyes (95 1). 7 

— ^Ethelhild, a lay recluse, buried at Wilton. 8 

— Eadhild, married in 926 to Hugh the Great, Count of Paris, and 
Duke of the French (father of Hugh Capet) ; no issue. 9 

— Eadgyth, married in 930 to Otto, or Otho I., The Great, afterwards 
King of the East Franks and Western Emperor, 10 and by him had issue. 

1 I. c. 1, s. 5 ; c. 2 ; and II. c. 4. 

2 " Concubina ... (si tamen vera est) . . . opilionis filia." W. Malm., 
G. lv., pp. 205, 222. In another passage again he styles Ecgwyn ' illustris ftemina ' 
(p. 197). But on the whole he clearly distinguishes her position from that of Eadweard's 
wedded wives {uxores). So, too, Florence, " Ex muliere nobilissima . . . ^Ethel- 
stanum, ex regina autem sua Eadgiva filios tres." Mr. E. W. Robertson suggests that 
the connexion of Ecgwyn with Eadweard may have been a " handfasting," i.e. an inchoate 
marriage, a union "wedded," that is to say betrothed, but not completed by giving 
away and blessing. Historical Essays, 174. 

3 W. Malm., G. R. t 197. 4 Id. See Cod. Dip. V. p. 131. 

5 Chron. B, C, D ; W. Malm., 197, where the name is wrongly given as " Ethel- 
wardus," a confusion with the young man's uncle. yEthelstan and /Elfweard begin to 
sign as the king's sons in 909 ; Cod. Dip. No. 1,090, etc. 

6 W. Malm., 197. Florence, whose account of Eadweard's family is very defective 
(p. 117), makes Eadwine son of Eadgifu, the king's second wife, but he ignores ^Ethel- 
flced altogether. 

7 W. Malm., 166, 198, and notes, Hardy. Freeman, 0. E. H., 146. 

8 W. Malm., 197. 

.Ethelweard, M. H. B., 499 ; W. Malm., G. R. t 198, and notes. 
10 .Ethelweard, sup. W. Malm., 166, 19S, and notes. Malmesbury calls her Elfgiva, 

280 ISSUE {CONTINUED) [a.D. 900-924 

— ^Elfgifu, married to a prince or duke reigning in the vicinity of the 
Alps, whose identity has not been satisfactorily established. 1 

By his second wife, Eadgifu, a Kentish lady, daughter of Ealdorman 
Sighelm, 2 Eadweard had Eadmund, Eadred, Eadburh, and Eadgifu II. 
Eadburh became a nun (St. Edburga), who lived and died in St. Mary's 
Convent, 3 Winchester, while Eadgifu II. was married to Louis VAveugle 
(son of Boso and grandson of Louis II.), King of Provence 4 and titular 

and the sister who married the Alpine potentate Edgitha, apparently transposing their 
names, as it is clear that the wife of Otto was an Eadgyth or Edith. 

1 ^Ethelweard, sup. W. Malm., s. 126, and Bishop Stubbs : Introduction, II. lii. 
(Rolls ed.) 

2 Cod. Dip. Nos. 499, 1,237 5 E. W. Robertson, Historical Essays, 167. Under 
Eadmund, Eadgifu signs as " Regis Mater " ; Cod. Dip. No. 393. 

3 W. Malm., G. R., s. 126 ; Id. G. P., s. 78, q.v., for a story of Eadburh's early piety. 
When she was quite a little child her father put before her on one side a chalice and a 
copy of the Gospels ; on the other side some feminine jewels, a bracelet and a necklace. 
She promptly chose the former. 

4 W. Malm., 198 ; ^Ethelvveard, sup., and notes. As Louis died in 923, the marriage 
must have taken place in Eadweard's lifetime. 


Born circa 895. Succeeded 924 (after 12th Nov.). 1 Died 27th October, 940 
Further Growth of Wessex — ^Ethelstan Lord Paramount of Great Britain— Legislation 

AT the time of his father's death .rEthelstan was about thirty years of 
age. 2 In his infancy his sunny locks had been the delight of his 
grandfather JElfred, who acknowledged him as the heir of the House, and 
invested him with the insignia of a warrior and an yEtheling, namely a 
purple mantle, a jewelled belt, and the national Saxon sword 3 in a golden 
Early Life sca ^ Dar( ^- ^ n n ^ s early years he was placed under the charge 
of his aunt, the Lady ^Ethelflaed, and her husband, by whom 
he was carefully trained for the duties of his future station. We are told 
that Eadweard by his Will had declared him his successor. The Will is 
not forthcoming, but in Eadweard's charters, from the year 909 onwards, 
we have ^Ethelstan clearly acknowledged as the eldest son, and taking 
precedence of the eldest legitimate son .-Elfweard. 4 yEthelstan therefore 
had been clearly pointed out to the nation as the intended successor to the 
throne. Nevertheless it appears that some opposition was raised against him 
on two grounds. One, the stain on his birth : the other, the old 
Claimants, dynastic difficulty which had given trouble at Eadweard's ac- 
cession, arising from the fact that Alfred had been preferred 
before the sons of yEthelred L, his elder brother. Alfred's heir was not 
the heir of ^Ethelwulf. Moreover, .Elfvveard, as the grandson— as we take 
him to have been — of ^Ethelm, the son of ^Ethelred, might see to have a 
double claim. 

The one difficulty was removed in the course of a fortnight by the death 

of ^lfweard, 5 whereupon the Mercian Witan at once elected ^thelstin, 

who, without delay, was ' hallowed ' and enthroned at King- 

disposedof. st o n -upon-Thames, G Archbishop Wulfhelm officiating. An 

enthronement at Kingston could only apply, in the first in- 

1 See Cod. Dip. Nos. 347, 348, and esp. 353, from which it appears that the 12th 
Nov., 931, fell in .Ethelstan's seventh year. 2 W. Malm., G. R., I. p. 210. 

3 "Ensis Saxonicus," W. Malm., sup. For the curiously shaped Saxon sword see 
the engraving above (p. 174). 4 See Cod. Dip. No. 1,090, etc. 

5 Chron. B, C, D. He died at Oxford, but was buried at Winchester. 

6 A.D. 924, "/Et Cingestune," Chron. B, C, D. ; Flor. 5 W. Malm., G. R., 204, 
210, 223 (a.d. 925, Chron. A ; A.D. 926, yEthelweard). 


282 HOMAGES OF L A - D - 924-926 

stance at any rate, to the Kingdom of Mercia ; the attitude of Wessex might 
still be doubtful ; and accordingly we hear of a party at Winchester rising 
in the name of one Alfred, doubtless a representative of the House of 
yEthelred. The movement, however, came to nothing, and Alfred was 
sent to Rome to abjure a charge of having conspired to depose ^Ethelstan, 
and, moreover, to incapacitate him for rule by depriving him of his eyesight. 
yElfred took the oath before the Pope, John XL, was seized with a fit, 
and within three days died at the Saxon School, a visible judgment on his 
impiety. 1 

The records for the reign of ^Ethelstan are meagre in the extreme : only 
very conspicuous events are recorded, and whole years are sometimes left 
without an entry. But the position to which we shall find him attaining 
will speak for itself. His mission was to carry on the work of his father 
in the unification of England, and he lost no time in setting about it. 

Reingwald, the Danish King of York, had died since the year 921, 
when he made his submission to Eadweard, and was succeeded by Sihtric, 

apparently his brother, as already mentioned. This man had 
Wessex ° keen ^ n S °f Dublin from 917 to 920, when he left, or was 

expelled, being succeeded by Guthfrith, presumably a third 
brother, and at all events another grandson of Ivar. 2 To bring the new 
King of York within the range of his personal influence ^Ethelstan in- 
vited him to Tamworth, and gave him his full sister to wife. 3 No formal 
act of submission or allegiance on the part of Sihtric is alleged, but the 
connexion would presumably involve a tacit undertaking — in the phrase 
of the time — ' to love that that ^Ethelstan loved, and shun that that iEthel- 
stan shunned.' 4 A more important transaction of the same character was 
effected in the ensuing year (926), when yEthelstan had a grand meeting 

with Northern potentates at Dacor, otherwise Dacre, at the 
Homages! ^ 00t °f Ulleswater. 5 According to the Worcester Chronicle 

(D) the personages who came at ./Ethelstan's invitation were 

Howel Dha, King of ' West Wales,' i.e. Dyfed ; 6 Owen, King of Gwent ; 

Howei Dha, Constantine, King of Scots ; and Ealdred of Bamborough, 

Constantine the son of Ealdulf. William of Malmesbury places the event 

a year later, after a breach with the Northumbrian Danes, and 

1 See W. Malm., G. A'., I. 205, 219,220, where he gives a charter of ^Ethelstan in 
which the facts are recited. Wilfred's estates were given to Malmesbury Abbey. See 
also p. 223. 

2 See the Annals of Ulster under those years. According to them Reingwald died in 
921. 3 30th January, 925. Chron. D ; Flor. The Lady's name has not been preserved. 

4 See Laius of Edzveard, II. c. 1, s. 1. 

5 "Ad locum qui Dacor vocatur," W. Malm., G. R., 212. "On threre stowe the 
genemned is set Eamotum," Chron. D. The Eamond is the river that flows out of 
Ulleswater, and Dacre Castle stands on the t Dacre Beck, about a mile from its junction 
with the Eamond. Dacor is still locally recognised as the original form of the name. 

,; The expression, "West Weala," usually means the Cornisqmen, but here it must 
mean Dyfed. 

a.d. 926] CELTIC PRINCES 283 

only names three Celtic Kings as being present, namely, Howel, Con- 
stantine, and " Eugenius," King of Cumbria. 1 This latter man would be 
Constantine's nephew Eogan, King of Strathclyde, son of the Donald of 
whom we heard in 921. 

We are told that ^thelstan 'compelled' ("gewylde") the attendance of 
these princes — we must suppose by moral pressure — because no hostilities 
of any kind are recorded, and a war against a coalition of Scotland, Bernicia, 
Cumberland, and Wales could hardly pass unnoticed. We are further told 
that the Northern potentates gave pledges and oaths of peace, 2 ' abjured 
all idolatry,' and so departed in friendship. 3 

The details of this affair may be open to doubt. We need hardly call 
attention to the ignorance of the chronicler who could think that at that 
time either Scots, Welshmen, or Cumbrians could be called upon to abjure 
paganism. But that a meeting of the character alleged did take place 
cannot be questioned. The memory of the interview at Dacre between 
yEthelstan and three Celtic Kings still lives on the spot with as much 
freshness as if the event had only happened in the last century. 4 The 
presence of Constantine might be accounted for by his relationship with the 
King of Strathclyde, as already suggested in connexion with the meeting of 
921. But, on the whole, considering the subsequent course of events, and 
Celtic readiness to buy off invasion by prompt offers of theoretic submis- 
sion, we incline to the view that some recognition of supremacy was given 
to yEthelstan by the rulers of Scotland, Cumbria, and Wales. His supre- 
macy over Bernicia would probably have been already recognised. That 
^Ethelstan himself considered the result of the meeting to have been such 
is clear, from the fact that from this time onwards he changes his style. 
Hitherto he had simply styled himself " Angulsaxonum Rex," as his father 
and grandfather had styled themselves. Now he always adds "totius Bri- 
tanniao monarchus," or other words to the same effect. 5 One 
style. charter we have expressly dated in the fifth year of his rule as 
King of the ' Angolsaxons,' and the third of his assumption of 
authority over the Northumbrians and Cumbrians. The supremacy in 
question would involve a certain right to control the foreign policy of 
the vassal estates ; but no right of interference in domestic affairs, except 

1 G. R., 106, 112. 2 "Mid wedde and mid athum fiyth gefrestnodon." 

3 12 July, 926. Chron. D. ; Flor. 

4 The very apartment in which the meeting is supposed to have taken place is pointed 
out. That, of course, is impossible. Dacre is a very interesting castle, of a type sug- 
gestive of an Anglo-Saxon hall with four corner towers, but it does not date from the 
tenth century. It is odd that this tradition should never till now have found its way into 
literary history. 5 See Cod. Dip. Nos. 1099, 1100, etc. 

G Cod. Dip. No. 346 ; Hist. Abingdon, I. 60. Mr. Kemble marks the charter as 
doubtful, yet it is found in two Cotton MSS. and a Corpus Christi Camb. MS. If we 
ascribe the charter to the first half of 929, its dates will be perfectly consistent and cor- 
rect. This seems a strong point in its favour. 

284 SCOTLAND INVADED [a.d. 926-937 

perhaps with respect to Bernicia, which might be considered part and 
parcel of England. Welsh Kings had already rendered some sort of 
homage to English Kings, as to Ecgberht and .Elfred, but no right of 
internal intervention had ever been asserted over Wales. 

The reader will notice that the meeting, unlike the one alleged in 921, 
was held, not within the English King's recognised dominions, but in 
Cumbria, and probably at or near the common frontier. Dacre apparently 
belonged to Eogan. If so, his dominions went at any rate as far as Ulles- 
water — an extension which must have taken place since the destruction of 
Carlisle by the Danes. 

Diplomatic manoeuvres, however, were soon followed up by action of a 
more drastic character. Sihtric having died in 926, iBthelstan 

Affsirs of 

Northumbria. ex peUed his son and successor Guthfrith, and annexed his 
dominions. 1 According to one writer, he also took Bernicia 
into his own hands, driving out Ealdred. 2 

Guthfrith fled to Scotland, while a brother, Anlaf or Olaf, found a 
refuge in Ireland. Both lived to give trouble. The former returned 
shortly to make an attempt on York. Being refused admission, he took to 
the sea and kept up irritating piratical ravages, till he disappeared to be 
no more heard of. 3 

In these operations Guthfrith must have received support from Con- 

stantine, of which JEthelstan had a right to complain. Following the 

example of Ecgfrith, but with more satisfactory results, ^Ethelstan led an 

army into Scotland, harrying the East coast as Tar as " Dun- 

Invadecf foeder >" *"* Dunottar, while an attendant fleet pushed its 
ravages as far as " Catenes," Caithness. 4 But Constantine was 
only irritated, not crushed. Three years he took to organize his revenge. 
As the captain of his warfare, by all accounts, he took Olaf, the Danish 
King of Dublin ; Olaf, son of Guthfrith, the brother, as we have it, of 
Sihtric, who had died in 934 ; 5 Olaf, surnamed Cuaran, G and destined to 
live in the pages of Romance as Havelok the Dane. 7 According to some 

1 a.d. 927, Chron. D and E ; Symeon, H. A\, 93, 377 ; Florence. 

2 So W. Malm., G. R., 206. But his account is very vague, and he names " Aldulfus," 
the father of Ealdred, as the man expelled. 3 W. Maim., G. R., s. 134. 

4 a.d. 934, Chron. B, C, D ; Sym., H. R., 93, 124 ; Flor. Can " Athelstaneford," 
the name of a place near Haddington, date from this invasion ? According to Symeon, 
H.D. £., p. 75, .Fthelstan, on his way North, made large grants to St. Cuthberht ; but 
no charters are extant to support the statement. 

5 See Ann. Uht. for these years and the years 936, 937 ; also Symeon, " Onlaf Guth- 
redi, quondam regis filius," H. D. E. Many scholars make Olaf Cuaran the son of 
Sihtric, but I take my stand upon these, the primary authorities. 

6 See Mr. W. H. Henessy's note to the Annals of Ulster, A.D. 937, where he thinks 
it clear that the leader at Brunnanburh was Olaf Cuaran {i.e. " brogues " or " sandals," 
conf. " Caligula") ; also Ann. Ulst., a.d. 947. 

7 The transition from Amlaibh or Olaf to Havelok seems strange. We must suppose 
some such intermediate sounds as Avlaf, Avlac, Havlac, etc. The identity is clear, 

a.d. 937] "BRUNNANBURH" 285 

accounts he was son-in-law to Constantine. 1 But it would seem that the 
King also had with him the other Olaf, the son of Sihtric, 2 and perhaps we 
should regard him as the son-in-law. Eogan of Strathclyde of course was 
there, while Picts, Scots, Welshmen, and Danes swelled the ranks of the 

host. In the year 937 their armament, boldly estimated by 
Coalition 1 Northern tradition at 615 sail strong, 3 entered the Humber. 

Constantine landed his men, and, without delay, commenced a 
forward march. 4 We cannot entertain any doubt as to the direction 
which he took. To turn northwards would simply be to retreat ; to turn 
westwards would look like a retreat, just as fatal to an invader. South- 
wards the allies must have marched, along the broad highway of the 
Ermine Street, through the friendly Danish population of our Lincoln- 
shire, within hailing distance of their ships, till they found their progress 
arrested by ^Ethelstan and his brother Eadmund at " Brunnanburh." 
The name of the place is otherwise given as " Brunnanbyrig " or " Brunnan- 
were " ; 5 that is to say, ' the Brunne Fort ' or ' the Brunne Work ' ; and, 

sure enough, at Brunne, now Bourne, in Lincolnshire, we have 
Earthworks some verv remarkable earthworks, apparently of Roman date, 

partly surrounded by water and enclosing twenty acres ot 
ground and upwards. Here, apparently, the allies had taken post before 
^Ethelstan's arrival. The battle has always ranked as one of the most 
desperate ever fought on British soil ; G the future theme of many a lay, of 
which some survive. The live-long day, we are told, the fight raged — a 
stand-up hand-to-hand encounter. 

'Here gat King /Ethelstan, 
And eke his brother 
Eadmund zEtheling 
Life-long glory 
At sword's edge, 
Round 7 Brunanburh : 
Board-wall they cleft 

because in the French or oldest form of the ballad Che name Cuaran is expressly given 
to Havelok. See Roxburghe Ballads, Maiden. The reader may be informed that the 
main incidents as there given are taken from the life of Cnut. 

1 So Florence. 

2 So Mr. E. W. Robertson, Scotland wider Early Kings, I. 60 ; Skene, C. S., I. 356. 

3 Symeon, H. R., p. 93. 

4 "Multum processerat in Angliam," W. Malm., G. R., 207. 

5 Chron. A, etc., Sym., H. D. E., p. 76. Apud " Brunefeld," ' The Field of Brune,' 
W. Malm., sup.; " Bellum Brune," Ann. Camb. ; "Bellum Duinbruinde," Chron. 
Picts. Here again the fort comes in. Symeon gives " Weondune " or " Wendune " as 
an alternative name for the battle-field, H. D. E., j6 ; H. R., 93. No such name is now 
known there. 

6 To the end of the century, as /Ethelweard tells us, the action was always spoken of 
as the ' Great Battle ' {magmim bellum). So too the Irish Annals of Ulster, 
" Bellum ingens et horribile." "Bruneburh, pr?eliorum maximum," H. Hunt, 

7 "Ymbe." 

2 S6 


[a.d. 937 

Wav-lindens x hewed, 
Sithen sun up 
At morning-tide, 
God's noble candle, 
Glid o'er the lands, 
Till the bright being 
Sank to his settle.' 2 

Now this length of the battle again brings us to the " burh " or fortified 
enclosure. A stand-up primitive fight of twelve continuous hours would 
pass the endurance of any men that ever breathed. We might as well talk 
of a football match of twelve hours' duration. But successive assaults on 


A. Principal Camp. 

B. Procestrium. 

C. Great Springs, " St. Peter's Pool. 

D. St. Peter's Church. 
Scale, 6 inches to i mile. 

earthworks might be kept up for an indefinite period. If, as we believe, 
the invaders had established themselves within the Bourne moats, the 
English might well be proud of their success. The Egills Saga, if worth 
quoting, represents the Northern men as established in a " borg " to the 
North of a stream and ^Ethelstan as established in one to the South of it. 
This agrees with the position we assign to the forces. 

Constantine, Eogan and the Olafs escaped to their ships. But five 

1 Shields made of linden or lime-wood. 

2 See the ballad, Chron. A, etc., with translations by Thorpe in the Rolls edition, and 
by Freeman, O.E.H., 155. The implements of war mentioned are the "gar" or 
" darath "=spear or javelin ; sweord=sword j " mece " or " bil " = dagger ; " scild "= 
shield ; and " culbod "=banner or standard. For the account of the battle given in the 
Norse Egills Saga see Skene, Celtic Scotland, I. 353. Elsewhere we hear of the " seax " 
or "hand-seax," probably=" niece" or " bil." Codex Dipl. Nos. 492, 1,242. See the 
drawing of one of these above, p. 174. 

a.d. 937-940] SOUTH BEATS NORTH 287 

' young kings ' and seven jarls were said to have fallen on their side. Of 
the ' young kings ' the only one identified was the son of Constantine. 
Among the English losses were the King's cousins ^Elfwine and ^thel- 
wine, the sons of his uncle /Ethelweard ; both were taken to be buried at 
Malmesbury. 1 Bishop Werstan, of Sherborne, was said to have fallen a 
victim to his own imprudence in pitching his camp before the action on a 
spot condemned by the King as too much exposed to attack. Olaf fell 
upon him by night and overwhelmed his contingent. 2 

The victory of Brunnanburh was fraught with important political con- 
sequences. The battle was a final struggle for supremacy 
Results 1 betvveen North and South. The question as to which Power 
in Great Britain should rule the destinies of the Island was 
there put and settled once and for ever. The ascendancy of Southern 
Britain could never again be seriously challenged. 

Content with having established his position in England, -Ethelstan 
turned homewards, without attempting to reassert his suzerainty over 
Scotland by a second expedition beyond the Forth. Three 
iEtnelstau. y ears l ater death brought his highly successful reign to a some- 
what premature 3 conclusion. He passed away at Gloucester, 
on the 27th October, 940, 4 in the sixteenth year of his reign, 5 and the forty- 
fourth of his age. His ability will stand out most clearly when we come to 
consider the state of things under his successors. Certainly he had done a 
good deal to justify his claim to be considered the first over-lord of all Britain, 
and the first King of a united England, loose as we shall find the bonds 
of that union to have been. In Wales his supremacy was undisputed. We 
are told that he was able to impose upon the Welsh an annual tribute, 
namely, 20 lbs. of gold, 200 lbs. of silver, and 25,000 head of cattle, 
besides hawks and hounds for sporting purposes. 7 The same 
Tribute wr i ter tells us that ne compelled the Welsh Kings to do 
homage to him at Hereford, a Border town. But here 
Malmesbury understates the case, because jEthelstan's charters show these 
princes in attendance at the English court, and humbly attesting docu- 
ments as ' under-kings.' 8 One of these was the celebrated Welsh 

1 W. Malm., G.R., 218. 2 W. Malm., G.P., s. 80. 

3 " Immaturo vitse termino," W. Malm. 

4 Chron. B, C, D, E; Flor. (a.d. 941, Chron. A). Jithelstan's successor signs in 

5 Flor. ; W. Malm., G.R., 205. This tallies with our date for /Ethelstan's accession, 
which we placed in November or December, 924. The Chronicles all make him reign 
fourteen years and ten weeks (qy. fifteen years and ten months ?). 

c See his charters above; also Symeon, H. D. E., p. 74. "Primus regum totius 
Britannise quaquaversum adeptus est imperium " ; and again, " in uno solidantur Brittan- 
nidis arva," /Ethelweard. 7 W. Malm., G.R., 214. 

8 " Ego Howsel subregulus," "Ego Judvval subregulus," " Ego Morcant subregulus," 
" Ego Wurgeat subregulus." Cod. Dip. Nos. 363, 364, 1,107, 1,110. 

288 FOREIGN RELATIONS [a.d. 924-940 

legislator Howel Dda, who visited Rome. 1 In declaring the Wye the 
border between England and Wales 2 ^Ethelstan was only reasserting the 
line of Offa's Dyke. He expelled the Cornishmen from Exeter, which 
till then had been held by them and the English as a joint possession. 
He also fortified Exeter with a wall and towers of hewn stone — a novel 
achievement — fixed the Tamar as the abiding limit of Cornwall, 3 and 
marked the final annexation of the district by establishing an 
Bishopric. En g lish Bishopric for Cornwall either at Bodmin or St. 

German's. 4 
We may note that while ^Ethelstan fortified Exeter, the chief town of 
Devon, he pulled down the Danish fort at York, as a work more likely to 
be held against him than for him. 5 

Yet vEthelstan had some domestic difficulties to contend with. We 

have spoken of the conspiracy of /Elfred. Another plot, doubtless also 

based on the defect in iEthelstan's birth, was discovered about 

of°Eadwine t ^ ie year 933' T ^ e man i m P ucate d was the King's brother 
Eadwine, the eldest legitimate son of Eadweard, and Heir 
Presumptive to the Throne, ^Ethelstan being childless. The short record 
of his fate was that he was drowned at sea by TEthelstan's orders. 6 The 
fuller tradition preserved at Malmesbury had it that Eadwine and his 
armour-bearer were sent to sea at Dover, in an open boat, without oars, to 
meet such fate as the winds and the waves might bring them. The 
/Etheling, unable to endure the suspense, threw himself over-board and 
was drowned. The armour-bearer, holding on, reached the shore at 
Witsand, with his master's body, which he had managed to recover. The 
story adds that /Ethelstan was so smitten with remorse that he did 
penance for seven years. 

In European politics, again, yEthelstan achieved a position approached 

by no previous English King. His prestige is shown by the matches that 

he was able to arrange for his sisters, of whom one was 

Relations married to Count Hugh, the father of Hugh Capet, the 

founder of the House of France ; another to Otto the Great, 

future lord of the rising Germanic Empire. A third sister, by name 

Eadgifu, had been given to an offshoot of the Karling dynasty, namely, to 

the blinded King of Provence, Louis, son of Boso ; while a fourth, another 

Eadgifu, had found a husband in Charles the Simple. 8 At his deposition 

in 923 Eadgifu retired to England with her son Louis. Fourteen years the 

youth lived at the court of his uncle yEthelstan. At last Rudolf, the King 

who had supplanted his father, died (936); and then the French Magnates, 

1 See Haddan & Stubbs' Cone, I. 211, and Ancient Laivs of Wales (Record Comm.). 

2 W. Malm., sup. 3 W. Malm., sup. 

4 "Between 924 and 931." Stubbs, Const Hist., I. 259, citing Pedlei's Ancient 
Bishopric of Cornwall. 5 W. Malm., sup., 213. 

G Symeon, 77. R., 93, 124. 7 W. Malm., G. JR., 224. 

8 See above under Eadweard the Elder. 

a.d. 924-940] REFUGEE PRINCES 289 

at the suggestion of Count Hugh of Paris, who refused the crown for him- 
self, elected Louis, " Louis d'Outremer," or " Ultramarinus," as he had 
come to be known to his countrymen through his residence abroad. An 
embassy passed over to England and found ^Ethelstan at York, but he 
declined to part with his nephew until he had received oaths and assur- 
ances as to Louis' reception in France. He went down to the coast of 
Kent, while Odo, Bishop of Ramsbury, was sent to Boulogne to confer 
with the great Count Hugh. The Bishop's report being satisfactory, 
Louis followed, and was forthwith consecrated King of the West Franks, 
in the royal city of Laon. 1 

Another exiled prince who found shelter at the court of zEthelstan was 
Allan of Brittany. Worsted in a struggle with Duke William Longsword 

of Normandy (son of Rolf) for the possession of the Coten- 
B 1 "tt 1 n f tm ' ne came over t0 England (931). There he remained, like 

Louis d'Outremer, till 936, when he was allowed to return 
home, doubtless through iEthelstan's influence, but only on condition of 
recognising the over-lordship of the Duke of Normandy. 3 

Lastly, as another case of appeal to the English king in Continental affairs, 

we notice the fact that when Herlouin Count of Ponthieu, 
Herlouin of w h ose territory lay between Flanders and Normandy, 



ousted by Arnulf I. Count of Flanders, the wife and children 
of the dispossessed Count were sent for safe keeping to .Ethelstan. 3 

^Ethelstan was a great friend to the clergy. 4 His liberality to Malmes- 
bury may be considered to have been in some measure repaid by the 
pains taken by William, the Malmesbury writer, in collecting and pre- 
serving the facts of his life. How lavish zEthelstan's grants could be may 
be gathered from the fact that one single charter makes over to St. Peter's 
Monastery at Chertsey (St. Earconwald's foundation) no less 
C AM> tSey than seven and thirty townships in Surrey, including Egham, 
Thorp, Chertsey, Chobham, Frimley, Weybridge, Walton, 
Molesey, Petersham, Tooting, Streatham, Mitcham, Sutton, Ewell, Epsom 
("Ebesham"), Cheam ("Cheham"), Gatton (" Getinges "), Clandon, 
Effingham, Cobham, Byfleet, Albury, and Bisley (" Busseleghe"). 5 Where 
the king's hand could be so open no wonder that fictitious 
Be^riev° f c ^ amis were hazarded. We have already referred to a sup- 
posed grant in favour of St. Cuthberht. Better known is the 
rhyming concession of unprecedented privileges to St. John of Beverley. 

1 a.d. 936. See Freeman, N. C, 183, 196. Sismondi, France, III. 393-395. 

2 Freeman, N. C, I. 180-185, an( l authorities there given. 

:} a.d. 939. Freeman, A r . C, I. 200. 4 See his charters, passim. 

5 Kingston, 15th December, 933. Cod. Dip. No. 363. The grant covers the whole 
North half of Surrey, from the Thames to the Downs. Mr. Maitland, in Domesday and 
Beyond, suggests that in these excessive grants only Regalian rights and not the owner- 
ship of the soil were conveyed. 

E. H. u 

2 9 o GRANTS TO THE CHURCH [a.d. 924-940 

" Wyt {know) all that es and es gan l 
That ik King Adelstan 
As gyven als frelich as I may 
And to the capitell of seint Wilfrai 
Of my free devotion 
Thair pees at Rippon 
On ilke side the Kyrke a mile 
For all ill deeds and ylke agyle ; 2 

And in al thinges be als free 

As hert may thynke or eygh may se." 3 

The Laws of /Fthelstan exhibit a picture of a pious, well-meaning 
government struggling with social evils on the right hand and the left. 

In theory the law is frightfully severe. Any person over 
Legislation.^ . /. , ,, & , . J , . u J ,. 

twelve "winters old caught in the net of stealing property- 
worth more than eight pence (the value of two sheep) must not be 
spared ; he must be put to death. 4 By a later enactment the age is 
mercifully raised to fifteen ' winters,' and the value of the stolen property 
to twelve pence. 5 But we must add that the ultimate penalty is only 
exigible if the culprit resists, and cannot produce friends to make com- 
pensation for what he has done, and to give security for his good conduct 
in the future/' Then, again, persons hastily taking the law into their own 
hands may be made liable for the value of the life of the man they have 
killed, if his relatives are prepared to swear that they never knew of any 
thief among their connexion, and that the deceased in particular had 
never done anything worthy of death. 7 Further opportunities of escaping 

immediate punishment are provided through the appeal to the 

ordeal, and the rights of sanctuary (socne) allowed to churches 
and men of position. 8 

For the suppression of crime two sets of measures are put forward in 

1 ' Is and is to come.' 2 ' Every crime.' 

3 ' Eye may see.' See the song, Cod. Dip. No. 360 (also in Earle's Land Charters, 
p. 438), being an evident translation of the Latin Charter No. 358, which is also 
marked as spurious. The form of this charter and its legal phraseology belong to days 
much later than those of /Fthelstan. The only attesting witnesses are "G," Arch- 
bishop of York, and "P," Provost of Beverley. But the Archbishops of York under 
/Ethelstan were Rodewald and Wulfstan. The other metrical charter, No. 359 
(Earle, p. 435), was probably expanded from the former. The language of both belongs 
to the 14th or 15th centuries. 

4 Laws, II. c. 1 ; IV. c. 6 ; VI. c. 1. We seem to find the Witan asking for severer 
penalties than the king was prepared to grant: such as that a free woman stealing 
should be drowned ; a male slave stoned to death ; female slaves burnt alive. IV. c. 6. 

5 Id., VI. c. 12, s. 1. 

c VI. c. 1, s. 4 ; cnf. the provisions relative to sorcerers, II. c. 6, s. 1. "' II. c. II. 

8 V. c. 4. Five days " fyrst" (respite, truce) are given to 4 thieves or reivers ' taking 
refuge with the king, a church, or a bishop. Three days are allowed for refuge with an 
ealdorman or a Thegn. If the lord of the sanctuary harbours a fugitive beyond the legal 
period, he himself becomes liable for his offence. 

ad. 924-940] PEACE-GILDS 291 

the Laws of /Ethelstan. The first is of a feudalizing character. ' Lord- 
less men, of whom no man can beget his rights,' are required to find them 

a responsible lord in the folkmote. A man of good character 
ReS Lo°rds ble (faWeas) may choose his lord; 1 and the lords (domini), while 

forbidden to harbour other lords' men without their con- 
sent, are specially charged not to refuse their protection 2 to well behaved 
persons. The weak side of this system is revealed by another set of 
provisions, based on complaints, of which the reader will hear for five 
hundred years to come, of the support given to criminals and wrongdoers 
by men in great, nay even in official positions, and of the impossibility of 
bringing such offenders to justice. 3 

The other scheme is of a totally different character, being simply an 
extension of the primitive principles of self-redress and right of private 

war. The population are invited to enrol themselves by tens 

and hundreds in voluntary 4 associations or gilds for the 
preservation of the peace (gegylscipum, frit/igildum), or, to speak more 
accurately, for the suppression of thieves, the recovery of stolen property, 
and mutual insurance against losses by theft. Each gild will have a 
common purse, filled partly by levies on the brethren, partly by participa- 
tion in property recovered. Each Ten will be looked after by an Elder 
(y/desia), who will keep the others to their duties ; the entire gild or 
Hundred may apparently comprise as many as twelve Tens/ while the purse 
will be kept and the affairs of the association managed by a committee of 
the headmen, to meet monthly, if possible. 

The primary objects of the institution and its modus operandi are clearly 
set forth in the first chapter of the Act. ' This is the first thing. That no 

thief over twelve pence [worth of theft] and twelve winters [of 
Thieves. a o e ] ^ e s P are d, if we can ascertain that according to " folc- 

riht " he is guilty, and can offer no excuse ; then that we slay 
him and take all that he has, first keeping the worth of the stolen goods 
(" ceap-gild "); then that we halve the rest into two parts, one part to the 

wife — if she be guiltless of connivance, — the other part again to 
Di Goods.° f be shared, half to the king, half to the fellowship (geferscipe, 

i.e. gild).' The brethren agree to stand by each other ' on one 
friendship and one foeship.' One man from each Ten (if needful) to 
join in the pursuit : twelve pence reward to the man who first fells the 

1 II. c. 2 ; V. c. I, s. I. 

2 " Hlafordsocnam," III. c. 4; IV. c. 5; V. c. I and id. s. I. Schmid renders socnara 
here as sim ply = following (hlaford-secan, Herrn zu suchen) ; but again at V. c. 4, s. 3, 
we have socne clearly used of the protection of a lord's sanctuary. 

3 II. c. 3 ; IV. c. 3 ; V. c. I, ss. 3, 4. 4 See VI. c. 8, s. 6. 

5 Twelve heads of Tens (teo'Sunge) are spoken of as holding meetings, VI. c. 8, s. 1. 
VI. c. 1, s. 1, cc. 4, 7. v 

292 SELF REDRESS [a.d. 924-940 

The reader will observe that the fellowship are not required to appeal 
to any legal authority for redress. They are to rely on their own re- 
sources. The sheriff is only to be called in if they have to 
e " e p ' deal with a clan or family (iiuegtS) too strong for them ; or, in 
the case of stolen property being tracked into another shire, when the 
sheriff of that county will be bound to carry on the pursuit. 1 

The enactment embodying this scheme is entitled "Judicia Civitatis 
Litndouice" having been drawn up ' by the bishops and reeves belonging 
to London town ' {the to Lunden-byrig hyrati). But its provisions are 
expressly stated to be given as a supplement to (to-ecan) 2 the ' dooms ' 
already passed at Greatley, and Exeter, and Thursfield, that is to say the 
public general Acts of the reign. Then the scheme is to include eorl as 
well as ceorl; 3 and the king seems to urge its adoption by all his bishops, 
ealdormen, and sheriffs. 4 This of course need only mean that it should 
be adopted in other large towns suited to it, but in the measure itself we 
can discern nothing specially applicable to town life ; nothing in fact not 
prima facie suggestive of country life — such as riding after thieves, or 
tracking goods or cattle across the march. 

How the scheme would fit in with the ordinary judicial system of the 
country it is not easy to say. Apparently the ten or twelve Elders would 
have the powers of a Hundred court, with, presumably, an appeal to the 
folkmote. That ihejudicia — for once in Anglo-Saxon legislation — con- 
tained something substantially new appears from the devout trust ex- 
pressed that if the scheme should be generally adopted, as wished by the 
king, ' folk ' would be less troubled with thieves than they ever had been 
before. 5 On the other hand ' our frith gilds ' are clearly spoken of as an 
existing institution, to be endowed with fresh vitality and extended scope 
of action under the new regulations. The reader will remember that in 
the legislation of .Elfred we found references to a class of gegyldan as dis- 
tinguished from blood relations ; men who were under certain mutual 
responsibilities, and enjoyed certain mutual rights in the matter of contri- 
buting to the payment or sharing in the receipt of fines. As the frithgilds 
of ^Ethelstan seem to spring from the gegyldan of ^Elfred on the one 
hand, so we must hold them connected with the later gilds on the other 
hand. 7 Lastly, we may notice the undertaking that each man who shall 
'give his pledge to,' 8 i.e. join, ' our gilds,' shall, at his death, have prayers 
for the good of his soul subscribed for by the brethren. 

1 c. 8, ss. 2, 3, 4. 2 Lit., ' to eke out.' 

;i VI. Preamble. 

4 VI. c. 11. It is not quite clear whether the " friS " that the king here enjoins is 
that of the Judicia Civ. Loud., or some other set of measures passed before ; but it is 
clear that the Judicia had his assent. 5 VI. c. 8, s. 9. 

"ouurum friS-gegyldum " ; lb. and Preamble." 

7 This view has the valuable support of. Mr. J. R. Green, Conquest of England, 229. 

8 "his wedd geseald hsefiJ," c. 8, s. 6. 

a.d. 924-940] ORDEALS 293 

To return to the general legislation of Ethels tan, we find there the shire- 

"gerefa"or sheriff definitely recognised as the king's chief 
The Sheriff 

executive officer for the district. 1 General attendance at the 

folkmote is compelled by penalty. 2 

The ordeal figures more prominently in these than in any earlier Laws. 

This appeal to the judgment of God was allowed, as already mentioned, as 

The Ordeal a * ast cnance t0 helpless criminals. 3 We call it an appeal 

to the judgment of God. But apart from trickery it ought to 
be called an appeal to Heaven for a miracle on behalf of the accused. 
We hear of the ordeal by iron and by water, and of the single and the 
triple ordeal. 4 Whether the ordeal in a given case should be single or 
otherwise, the Law decided. The choice of the form of ordeal to be 
undergone lay with the prosecutor. In all cases the proceedings were 
conducted with most solemn ritual. The accused party was required to 
sanctify himself with prayer and fasting for three days. On the third day 
he communicated, under a special form of mass, but before he was allowed 
to communicate the priest adjured him in most impressive words not to 

presume to come to the altar if he were in any way guilty. 
° r iron by * n tne case °* tne or deal by hot iron a fire was kindled in the 

church, and a bar of iron weighing one, two or three lbs. 
placed upon it in the presence of an equal number of witnesses from each 
side. The iron was kept on the fire while a certain service was being 
performed. At the end of 'the last collect' the iron was placed upon 
trestles, the man's hand was sprinkled with holy water, and then at a 
signal from the priest he took up the iron and carried it a measured 
distance of nine of his own feet; then, dropping it, he rushed to the 
altar, where his hand was bound up with a sealed cloth, to be removed at 
the end of three days, when his guilt or innocence would be declared 

according to the state of the hand. In the ordeal by hot 
0r water by water tne accused had to take up a stone immersed in boiling 

water to the depth of his wrist or elbow as the case might be. 
In the ordeal by cold water he was let down into a pool of water by a 
rope an ell and a half long. If he sank he was innocent, if he floated he 
was guilty. 5 

Some Mint regulations issued by ^Ethelstan throw side-lights on one or 
two points of interest. The king directs that there shall be but one money 
for all his dominion (onweald), and names the towns where money shall 
be struck. All, with the exception of London, lie within the limits of 
Wessex. With the currencies of Mercia, Denalage, or Northumbria, King 

1 See e.g. VI. c. 8, s. 4. For his connexion with the folkmote see II. c. 12. 

2 II. c. 20. 

3 See esp. VI. c. 1, s. 4, where the ordeal is offered to thieves 'already often 
convicted.' 4 II. cc. 4, 5, 7, 23. 

5 Id. and Schmid, Append. XIII., XVI., XVII. Appendix XVI. is printed by 
Thorpe among the Laws of /Ethelstan, p. 227. 

294 PAUPER DIET [a.d. 924-940 

-•Ethelstan does not attempt to interfere. They lie outside the sphere of 
his direct control. This fact should be noted by those who suppose that 
England had been really united in one kingdom by ^Ethelstan. The 
towns selected for minting establishments are twelve in number. One 
moneyer will suffice for the requirements of Hastings, Chichester, and 
Dorchester • two for those of Lewes, [South] Hampton, Wareham, Shaftes- 
bury, and Exeter. Three moneyers are allotted to Rochester, 1 six to 
Winchester, seven to Canterbury, 2 and eight to London. Thus we gather 
that in point of population and wealth, Winchester, Canterbury, and 
London stood to one another in the mutual ratios of the numbers six, seven 
and eight. These proportions appear to tally with the dimensions of these 
cities as defined by the walls referable to the Roman period. Old Win- 
chester might be included in an area of something less than half a mile 
square, while old Canterbury would slightly exceed the half mile. Old 
London ought therefore to cover about three-quarters of a mile square, 
and that area would just come in between London Bridge on the East and 
Blackfriars on the West ; between the Thames on the South and London 
Wall on the North. 

Charitable regulations, as usual, stand in the forefront of the king's legis- 
ation. The payment of church dues is again enjoined. These include 
Tithes, Kirk-shot, Plough-alms, and Soul-shot (sawl-sceattd)? The last was 
a fee payable at the burial of each person, presumably for prayers for his or 
her soul. 4 iEthelstan directs one poor Englishman to be fed from each two 
of his farms (feorma\ * if ye have one, or that ye find another.' The pre- 
scribed allowance seems liberal. The man is to receive monthly an amber 
(ambrd) of meal, a leg of pork, and a sheep {ram) worth four pence. 5 The 
amber is said to have been equal to four bushels. A bushel of good wheat 
flour at the present day ought to yield twenty quartern loaves. But allow- 
ing, say, sixteen loaves for the bushel of tenth-century meal, the dole would 
come to two quartern loaves a day, besides a substantial allowance of meat. 

Above, four pence is given as the value of a middling sheep. We get 
some further notes of prices from the Juditia Civitatis Lundonia, where 
we find the gild brethren agreeing to demand ten shillings, or half of ^1, 
as the standing compensation for a stolen horse, and the same for a stolen 
slave ; one mancus or thirty pence must be asked for an ox, twenty pence 
for a cow, ten pence for a pig, and a shilling (=five pence) for a sheep. 

yEthelstan was reported to have been a man of moderate stature and 
slender build. 7 He wore his yellow hair, of which Malmesbury had seen 
a lock, bound up with threads of gold. 8 Apparently he was never married, 
and he certainly left no issue. 

1 Two for the king, one for the bishop. 2 Four for the king, two for the arch- 

bishop, one for the abbot. 3 Laws, I. 4 See Schmid, Glossary. 5 Laws, II. Preamble. 

6 C. 6; and Schmid, Glossary, " Geldrechnung." In Mercia four pence made a 
shilling, in Wessex five made the shilling. 

7 " Corpore deducto." 8 W. Malm., G. /?., s. 134. 




Eadmund I. ' The Magnificent ' ? 1 Born circa, 922 ; succeeded 940 ; died 29th May, 

946 (murdered) 

AT the death of ^Ethelstan his eldest surviving half-brother Eadmund 
came to the throne without dispute. Nothing is recorded of the 
details of his election or coronation, but the rites must have been per- 
formed without delay, as he signs as king in the year 940. 2 

Eadmund had borne himself bravely at Brunnanburh, but he was only 
eighteen years old at the time of his accession, 3 and it soon became clear 
that /Ethelstan's work would have to be done over again. The Northern 
Danes threw off the yoke, and inviting over Olaf Cuaran, the 
^jgg King of Dublin, made him King of York 4 for the first time. 5 
The attitude of the Mercian Danes is not clearly defined ; 
probably they too revolted, as we hear of their subsequent reduction by 
Eadmund. Olaf, however, invaded Mercia, advancing as far as Northamp- 
ton, where he met with a check. Falling back on Tamworth, he devastated 
a large tract of country. He was continuing his retreat towards Chester, 6 
when he was overtaken by Eadmund. The engagement that seemed 
imminent was averted by the two Archbishops, Odo of Canter- 
A? UoS Ca " bury and Wulfstan of York, the former having just been trans- 
lated from Ramsbury. As a man of Danish extraction, the 
Southern Primate might seem well fitted to act as mediator ; 7 but Wulfstan 

1 So Florence ; hut as he has some grand epithet for almost every king, I do not feel 
any confidence in the authenticity of this one. 

2 Codex Dip. No. 379. " Primo anno imperii mei," Nos. 1,136 and 1,138. His 
usual style is " Rex anglorum coeterarumque gentium in circuitu persistentium," No. 
389, etc. In one charter, dated about 946, he styles himself " Rex Anglorum necnon et 
Merciorum," No. 409. 3 Chron. 

4 " Anlaf of Yrlande," Chron. D, a.D. 941. Cuaran had returned to Dublin in 938. 
Ann. Uht. 5 Symeon, H. R., a.d. 939. 

6 " Legreceastre," Sym. sup. ; Chester must be the place meant. 

7 Odo was son of a Danish chief who came over with Ivar in 866. He was taken up by 
.Ethelhelm Ealdorman of Wilts (qy. the son of ^Ethelred I. ?), baptised and sent to school 
by him, and went with him to Rome (A.D. 887, Chron. A). By /Ethelstan he was made 
Bishop of Ramsbury (925-927), and went with him to Brunnanburh where, however, he 
does not appear to have fought as a combatant. In 842 he was translated to Canterbury. 


2 9 6 WESSEX STILL ADVANCING [a.d. 940-945 

was afterwards taxed with having been more careful of Northumbrian 
than of English interests. 1 Anyhow the terms agreed upon were most 
derogatory to the King of Wessex, his dominion being cut down to the 
old line of the Watling Street, the boundary of Alfred and Guthrum in 886. 2 
We next hear of a Danish attack on Bernicia, led by one " Olilaf," pre- 
sumably a third Olaf, whose identity, however, need not trouble us, as he 
died shortly afterwards. The inroad was pushed as far as Tyninghame in 
East Lothian, and the church of St. Baldred sacked. The district, as we 
take it, having been previously under Uhtred, son of Ealdulf, 
Affairs 11 tne a ^y °^ Wessex, was now required to accept as joint kings 
Olaf, son of Sihtric, and his nephew Reingwald, son of 
Guthfrith. 3 

But the star of Wessex was still in the ascendant, as the next thing that 
we seem to hear of is the reduction by Eadmund of the Danish Five Burghs 
of Mercia, namely Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham, Stamford, and Derby, 
whereby his dominion was advanced to a line accurately defined by Dore, 
Whitwell, and the Humber, in fact just the southern boundary of our 
Yorkshire. 4 The three Northern kings then came to terms with Eadmund, 
submitting to holy baptism in his presence, as a sign, we take it, of the 
re-establishment of Christianity in their dominions. But their rule proved 
short-lived. Within the next two or three years the Bemicians got rid of 
Olaf, son of Sihtric; while Eadmund expelled Reingwald and Olaf Cuaran, 
and so being quit of them all, succeeded in establishing his authority over 
all Northumbria. 5 

One more expedition Eadmund lived to accomplish. In 945 he 

harried all "Cumbraland," and then, we are told, "let" it, i.e., made it 

over to the new King of Scots, Malcolm I. (Mailcolum\ son 

S Ravagld de of Doriald (Domnail), ' on condition that he should be his 

helper both by sea and land.' Part at any rate of our 

Cumberland had already been annexed by the kingdom of Strathclyde, as 

we have seen. So much was this the case that Cumbria was being used 

See the Life of St. Oswald, Historians of Church of York, I. 404 (J. Raine, Rolls Series, 

No. 71), the Life of Odo by Osbern, Anglia Sacra, II. 78, and Reg. Sacrum. 

1 See W. Malm., G est a Pont., s. 114, where his statements of fact, however, are very 
inexact, 114. 

2 a.d. 942, Symeon, H. A\, sup. ; Chron. D (a.d. 943), where the latter part of the 
annal refers to later events. The date seems fixed by the fact that in this year, and 
this year only, of Eadmund's reign, we have Wulfstan attesting charters at the English 
Court, Cod. Dip. Nos. 392, 393. 

3 Sym., sup., a.d. 941, and p. 378 ; Chron., a.d. 944. For these men see above, 
276, 284. 

4 Chron. A, a.d. 941 ; B, C, D, a.d. 942. The chronology is most confused. 

5 a.d. 943, 945, Sym., sup. ; Chron. A, B, C (a.d. 944). Olaf Cuaran reappears 
at Dublin in 945, relieving his brother Blacair, son of Guthfrith, who had been there 
previously ; Ann. Ulsf. 

G Chron. A, B, C ; Flor. Constantine had abdicated about the year 942, retiring to 
end his days at St. Andrew's. See Skene, C. S., I. 360-362. 

a.d. 945; 94^] AN IMAGINARY CESSION 297 

as another name for Strathclyde, and was probably so used here, because 
the Welsh annalists speak of this very raid as a devastation of Strathclyde. 1 
The district had been and still was being held by a scion of the Royal 
House of Scotland on the footing of a vassal under-kingdom. The actual 
king was Donald, son of Eogan, who had disappeared since the battle of 
Brunnanburh. Eadmund's inroad may have been provoked by a refusal 
on the part of Donald to render to him the homage rendered to /Ethel- 
stan by Eogan. But Donald's relations to the King of Scotland were not 
and could not be affected by Eadmund's action. Utterly destitute of 
warrant, even less founded on fact, is the suggestion that Strathclyde was 
"abolished" by Eadmund. 2 We shall find the succession of kings there 
running on for nearly a century to come, with princes at times strong 
enough to give considerable trouble to their Scottish suzerains. The 
allegation of a cession of Cumbria or Strathclyde to Scotland must be 
dismissed as an idle boast of our chroniclers, but one quite in accordance 
with the turgid pretensions of the royal charters of the period. 

In the following year Eadmund's career was brought to an untimely 

close by the hand of an assassin. It would seem that the Court was at 

Pucklechurch in Gloucestershire, holding the Feast of the 

Eadmund. national Apostle, St. Augustine (26th May, 946), when one 
Liofa, a freebooter, who had been banished by the King, 
entered the hall, and took his seat at table. The King ordered the 
steward {dapiferuvi) to expel the intruder, and when Liofa resisted, 
hastened to assist his servant. A scuffle ensued, in which the King was 
stabbed, Liofa being immediately cut down by the courtiers. 3 The King's 
remains were taken to Glastonbury and buried in the Abbey church, the 
Abbot, the celebrated Dunstan, officiating. 4 

The Laws of Eadmund give us little that is new, either in principle, or by 
way of illustration of known rules. But in them we have perhaps the first 

requirement of a universal oath of fealty to the king, ' as from 
Legislation. . _ . 

a man to his lord ;° to them also we owe the first authorita- 
tive statement of the proceedings incidental to the peaceable settlement of 
the wer of a murdered man, as already given. The piety of the king's 
tone is touching in its simplicity, when, bewailing the strife and bloodshed 
with which he is surrounded, he implores his subjects to live in fraternal 
concord, 7 and warns abducers of nuns, murderers, and adulterers, that they 
will forfeit the privilege of burial in consecrated ground, 'unless they 

1 Ann. Cavib. , a.d. 946 ; Brnt-y-T., a.d. 944. 

2 This is Mr. Freeman's view, A T . C, I. 61, 124. 

3 Chron. A, B, C, and esp. D, and Flor. The latter gives the duration of the reign as 
five years and seven months, thus exactly confirming our date for /Ethelstan's death. 

4 Chron. A, B, D ; Flor. ; W. Malm., G.R., s. 144; Memorials St. Dunstan, 29. 
" Perempto Eadmundo ab iniquo cleptore " (Rolls Series). 

5 Laws Eadm., III. c. 1. Schmid. G Id., II. c. 7. 
7 " Gesibsumnesse and gethwoernesse." 

298 A SICKLY KING [a.d. 946 

amend their ways.' 1 But the king's justice does not rest there. Penalties 
of confiscation and death are freely denounced against offenders all 
round. If slaves band together to rob, then the ' oldest man ' of them 
(senior, say, ringleader) must be ' killed or hanged ' ; the others to be thrice 
flogged and have their little fingers cut off. 3 

By his mistress ^Elfgifu (she died circa 944 3 ) Eadmund left Eadwig 

and Eadgar. By his wife ^Ethelfla^d, distinguished as ./Ethelflaed "at'' 

(i.e. of) Domersham (daughter of yElfgar, afterwards Ealdor- 

man of the East Saxons 4 ), who survived him, Eadmund left 

no issue. 


Born circa 924? ; crowned 16th August, 946 ; died 23rd November, 955 

At Eadmund's death his eldest son Eadwig was still a mere child, 

not ten years old, and plainly incapable of filling the throne. The 

suffrages of the Witan therefore naturally fell on the late King's brother 

Eadred, younger son of Eadweard the Elder by his wife 
Coronation. . 

Eadgiiu. On Sunday, 16th August, he was duly hallowed at 

Kingston-on-Thames by Archbishop Odo.° 

Eadred was quite a young man, perhaps twenty-two years old, and of so 
sickly a constitution, we are told, that he could not digest plain meat : he 
could only suck the juice of it through his teeth, rejecting the solid 
morsels, a great trial to those who had to sit at his table. But he was 
surrounded by men trained in the difficulties and glories of the last two 
reigns, with his mother as his prime adviser. One young man he also had 
by him — a man of great promise, his personal friend and playmate, who 
was rapidly coming to the front — Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury. 7 

As the first incidents of the reign, and, in fact, as incidents of the very 

1 Zazas Eadm., II. Preamble ; and I. c. 4. 

2 Id., III. c. 4. 

3 i.e. in the year of the expulsion of Olaf and Reingwald ; .Ethel weard, M. II. B., 520. 
Both this writer and Florence (a.d. 955) style /Elfgifu "regina" and " sancta regina," 
but in the only charter in which her name appears she humbly signs, " Ego concubina 
Regis affui." /Elfgifu was held a saint by the Anglo-Saxon Church (5th May), and 
miracles were wrought at her tomb at Shaftesbury ; Flor., sup. 

4 Chron. D, a.d. 946. /Elfgar signs as "dux" 947-951. See E. W. Robertson, 
Hist. Essays, 168. 

5 Florence; Chron. A, B, C; Cod. Dip. No. 411. Eadred's usual style is "Rex 
Anglorum coeterarumque gentium in circuitu existentium'gubernator et rector," Id., 415. 
In his last year, 955, he signs as Coesar. " Cyning et Casere totius Britannia?," No. 433. 
In this same year "the German soldiery hailed his brother-in-law by the same title." 

6 Vita S. Diinstani, Auctore B. Memorials of Saint Dunstan, p. 31. (Bishop 
Stubbs, Rolls Series No. 63.) 

7 Dunstan's appointment to Glastonbury is recorded by Florence under the year 942, 
but the first undisputed charter attested by him as abbot belongs to 946, Cod. Dip. No. 
411. He was born in 924 or 925, Chron. ; Flor. 

a.d. 94^-949] DANISH EFFORTS 299 

year of Eadred's accession, we are told that he reduced all Northumber- 
land ; and that the Scots gave him oaths ' that they would all that he 
would.' With respect to the Scottish homage we can only remark that we 
do not find the names of any Scottish envoys as present at the English 
Homae-eof court - 1 ^ ne allegation of the reduction of Northumberland 
all England was clearly premature : but as Archbishop s Wulfstan of York, 
and Wales. an( j twQ « eor i s » (jarls), with strange names, 2 and Howel Dha 
and other Welshmen, attest the official record of Eadred's election, we 
may take it that all England and Wales at once accepted the new King's 
rule. 3 

The final suppression of the Danish kingdom of Deira was the mark 
of the reign — a notable achievement ; but the exact course of events must 
be given with great reserve, the authorities being utterly at variance as to 
their dates. 

In immediate sequence on the allegation of the reduction of Northum- 

bria in 946, we are told that Eadred marched to " Taddenesscylfe," Shelf, 

struggle near Halifax, just inside the borders of Deira ; and that there 

with Archbishop Wulfstan and the Northumbrian Witan (there 

mm ria. b em g no \r\ n g a t the time), plighted him their troth ; the writer 

adding that ' within a little while they belied it all, both troth and pledges.' 

These events are placed by the Worcester Chronicle in the year 947. 

Florence, re-writing the narrative, gives the year as 949 ; and the old 

chronicle incorporated by Symeon agrees with this, placing the visit to 

Northumbria between 948 and 95 o. 4 

The Danes certainly were not long of breaking their word, as under the 

year 949 we hear that Olaf, surnamed Cuaran, expelled by Eadmund, was 

* brought back ' to rule at York. 5 Again apparently he entered 

01 AgjSnf 111 En g ] and under the segis of the King of Scots, as the Pictish 

Chronicle records under this year an invasion of England by 

Malcolm, which was pushed as far as the river Tees. 6 That would be the 

southern boundary of Bernicia, at any rate of Bernicia ///Af the territory of 

1 Fordun, however, accepts the homage, but limits it to Cumbria, and says that it was 
performed by Indulf, the Tanist heir to the Scottish Throne, I. 167. 

2 " Imorcer eorl" and " Andcoll eorl " ; Cod. Dip., sup. (Marker & Arkell?). 

In his first charter Eadred claims to have succeeded to the fourfold kingdom of 
" Angulsaxna, Northhymbra, Paganorum, Brettonumque." The Anglo-Saxon realm 
would include Wessex, English Mercia, and their dependencies. Northumbria perhaps 
would mean Bernicia, the modern Northumberland ; the Pagan districts would be Deira 
and any parts of Mercia still ruled by heathen chiefs ; and the Britons, of course, would 
be the Welsh principalities, of which Eadred was overlord. 

4 G. R., p. 94. 

5 Chron. E, a.d. 949 ; "reduxerunt Onlafum," Sym., H. R., p, 378, comparing p. 93, 
where we were told under the year 439 that Olaf then came to York ' for the first time.' 
At p. 94 the Danish king by an obvious confusion is called Eric. 

c " VII anno regni sui predavit Anglicos ad amnem Thesis," p. 10. 

300 BERNICIA AND DEIRA [a.d. 950-953 

St. Cuthberht, districts of course friendly to Wessex and hostile to the 

Eadred was prompt to assert his rights, as in 950 he invaded Deira in 
force, once more expelling Olaf Cuaran, 1 overrunning all the country, and 
even burning St. Wilfrith's Minster at Ripon. The expedition, 
Expulsion however, ended with a reverse, the Danes from York over- 
taking the King's rear at " Ceasterforda," and making great 
havoc of them. 2 Encouraged by this success, the Deirans called in one 
Eric son of more f° re ig n prince to rule over them, namely, Eric, son of 
Harold Harold Blaatand (Blue-tooth), King of Denmark. 3 But Deira 
Biaatand. cou ] ( j n0 i on g er stand by itself ; and it would seem that all 
races in Great Britain conspired to make an end of Danish rule. The 
short record is that the Northumbrians under threats from Eadred expelled 
Eric, the last of their kings, and that he fell by the hand of 
D Eric ° f one Maccus, or Magnus, son of Olaf. 4 A late writer adds that 
he fell in the wilds of " Steinmor "— Stainmore, on the borders 
of Yorkshire and Westmoreland, through the ' treachery ' of Osulf. 5 Osulf 
was the Lord, or, as he styles himself, the High Reeve of Bamborough, 
the representative doubtless of the House of Ealdulf, a man who owed no 
allegiance to Eric. Lastly, the trustworthy Annals of Ulster record under 
this same year, 952, a 'battle against the men of Alban and Britain and 
Saxony by the Galls,' i.e. Danes. From all this we infer that Eric was 
ousted by a curious coalition of hostile Danes, Bernicians, Englishmen, 
and Strathclyde Britons. Deira accepted the rule of English ealdormen, 
or earls, as perhaps we ought to call them in the North, and in 953 the 
whole of all Northumbria, including both Deira and Bernicia, was con- 
ferred as one vast earldom or ealdonnanry upon the faithful Osulf, an 
excessive grant, large as the jurisdictions of the ealdormen had come 
to be. 7 

These offices had grown as the kingdom had grown. In the time of 

1 Cuaran went back to Dublin, where he reigned till 980. He then retired to Iona, 
and died in 9S1 ; Ann. Utst. 

2 a.d. 950, Symeon, H. R., 94, 378; Florence; (a.d. 948, Chron. D). The two 
latter give the name of the expelled king as Eric, again a confusion. 

3 Sym., H. R., 378; Chron. E (a.d. 952) ; Adam of Bremen, Pertz IX. 324 (no 
date); Lappenberg, II. 125. 

4 a.d. 952, Symeon, H. R., 94, 197, 378. " Defecerunt hie reges Northanhym- 
brorum," Adam Bremen, sup. ; Chron. D and E (a.d. 954). But for the statement 
that this Maccus or Magnus was son of Olaf, I should be inclined to identify him with 
the Maccus or Magnus whom we shall find king of the Southern Isles in the time of 
Eadgar. He was certainly the son of one Harold. 

■' R. Wendover, a.d. 950. The writer was Precentor of St. Albans, and died in 1237. 

6 "Osulf heahgerefa," Cod. Dip. No. 411 ; "Osulf ad bebb. hehgr.," No. 424. 
This was an old Bernician title. See Chron. D, a.d. 778, 779. 

7 Symeon, sup., and 199 ; Chron. D and E (a.d. 954) ; R. Hoveden, I. 57 ; R. 
Wendover (a.d. 950). 

a.d. 953-955] AGAIN ENGLISH 301 

Eadweard the Elder we heard of two ealdormen for Kent alone ; now the 
Ealdor- ea ldorman mostly rules a group of shires, a province. South 
marines of of the Thames at this period we seem to trace at most four 
the Period. suc j l m j erS) one f or t ^ e Western counties, one for the central 
district of Wilts and Hants, one for Sussex, and one for Kent. North of 
the Thames the three ealdormen of East Anglia, Mercia, and the Five 
Burghs seem to have divided most of the territory up to the line of the 
Humber. The coincidence of these limits with those of pre-existing 
governments suggests that local feeling still had to be indulged with 
something in the nature of a vice-regal court. These important posts 
were reserved as much as possible for connexions of the Royal Family. 
At the head of the group at the time that we have reached stood the 
ealdorman of East Anglia, ^Ethelstan, a man of such influence that to dis- 
tinguish him from his Royal namesake he was called ' zFthelstan the Half- 
king.' 1 

The recurrent disaffection in the North had brought the northern 
Primate under very great suspicion. Eadred, satisfied of Wulfstan's dis- 
loyalty, arrested him and sent him to prison at " Judanbyrig," 
ECC AffSrs! Cal J edbur § n ' in Bernicia. 2 After a while, doubtless after the 
reduction of Deira, he was released, but he was not allowed to 
return to York ; he was sent to Dorchester, 3 Oscytel, Bishop of Dorchester, 
a man of Danish extraction, being translated to York. 1 These facts 
show the reality of the Royal Supremacy over the Anglo-Saxon Church. 
Wulfstan, however, did not long survive his degradation, as he died on the 
26th December, 956, and was buried at Oundle. 5 

Eadred had already passed away. His struggling, sickly life G closed in 

death at Frome on the 23rd November, 955. Nine years and 

Eadred. a half he had reigned. Like his predecessor, he was buried by 

1 " Quern semi-regem appellabant . . . omnes populi," Vita Osivaldi, sup., 248. 
"Half Kyng," Hist. Ramsey, 11. See Robertson, Historical Essays, 178 and 179. 
Hist. Ramsey, p. n. Under Eadred the greatest number of "duces" (ealdormen) 
attesting one charter is eight, and that includes at least one Danish " dux," whose 
jurisdiction was probably more limited. Under Eadwig seven is the largest number. 

2 Chron. D, Flor., a.d. 952 ; R. Wendover, a.d. 951 ; W. Malm., G. R., s. 146. 

3 Chron. D, Flor., a.d. 954; R. Wendover, a.d. 953. 

4 Chron. B, C, a.d. 971 ; R. Wendover, a.d. 954. The imprisonment of Wulfstan 
at Jedburgh must be associated with the invasion of Northumbria, which we place in 
950. In the confusion of the chronology of the reign, the only sure footing seems to be 
given by the charters. Wulfstan attests charters in every year of the reign for which 
charters are extant except 951 and 952. There are no charters for 950 : so that Wulfstan 
must have been in prison in 951 and 952, and may have been so in 950. In 953 he 
reappears, Cod. Dip. No. 1,169. In 954 again there are no charters, but in 955 we 
have Oscytel signing as" Eboracensis /Ecclesic-e primas," No. 1,171. 

5 Chron. D, Flor. 

6 " Per omne tempus . . . . nimium languens . . . segrotantem vitam . 
misere perduxit," Memorials Dunstan, 31 (B). 

3 o2 DUNSTAN [a.d. 924-955 

Dunstan, at Glastonbury, 1 then doubtless the church of most sanctity and 

repute in England. 

From this time onwards the life of St. Dunstan is so much bound up 

with the history of England that a sketch of his earlier career 
St. Dunstan. . ' , ° , 

can no longer be deferred. 

His birth is placed in the first year of the reign of ./Ethelstan 2 (924-925) ; 
but as he attests a Royal charter in 940, 3 it may be that his birth fell 
somewhat earlier. He was born, apparently, in the neighbour- 
hood of Glastonbury, and came of good West-Saxon parentage. 
^Elfheah the Bald, Bishop of Winchester (St. Elphege I.), and Cynesige, 
Bishop of Lichfield, are spoken of as his relatives (propinquus, consan- 
guineus) ; 4 and by them he was introduced to the Court of iEthelstan. 
At an early age his parents made him take minor Orders at Glastonbury, 
where he served in the Church of St. Mary. 5 The boy soon showed a 
taste for reading, and we are specially told that he was 
supplied with books by the Irish pilgrims who flocked to the 
shrine of the younger St. Patrick at Glastonbury. His studious tastes, 
however, and perhaps " his dreams and his prayers," brought down upon 
him the ill-will of his young courtly associates, who accused him of occult 
studies, procured his temporary banishment from ^Ethelstan's court, and 
went so far as to duck him in a muddy pond. G 

It would seem that after this he went to live with his relative, Bishop 

/Blfheah, at Winchester. 7 /Elfheah may have been contemplating a 

revival of the Benedictine rule, then practically dead in England. 

" Monachism there was in England, although it was not after the rule 

of St. Benedict." Probably it was of an Irish character, modified by 

survivals of the Benedictine rule as introduced by Wilfrith. 

M Vows tiC At an y rate ^ lf liean P resse( * Dunstan to take monastic Orders. 

But Dunstan's inclinations were not in that direction ; he had 

fallen in love with a young lady whom he wished to marry. The struggle 

was long and severe, and Dunstan did not yield to the Bishop's wishes 

till illness had brought him to death's door. By his priestly biographer 

the wish to enter the bonds of holy matrimony is represented as a direct 

temptation from the Evil One. 8 

As a monk Dunstan went back to Glastonbury. Osbern, one of his 
later biographers, tells us that he was shown there a cell, probably a 
penitential cell, a mere hovel, about five feet long and two and a half feet 
wide, which Dunstan had built for himself. The use of the cell must be 
referred, if at all, to this period, 9 as after his promotion to the abbacy, 

1 Chron. A, D, E ; Flor. ; Symeon, H. R., 94. 

2 Memorials of St. Dunstan, 71 (Osbern) ; conf. 6 (B). 3 Cod. Dip. No. 1,130. 
4 Memorials, 13, 31 (B). 5 Memorials, 10 (B), 77 (Osbern). 

Id., 10, 12. 7 Id., LXXIX. 8 Id., 13, 14 (B); also 68 (Adelard). 

9 Id., 83, "hoec juveni domus." 

a.d. 924-955] MS EARLY LIFE 303 

it appears that Dunstan used to have a monk sleeping in the same room 
with him. 1 Again a well-known story represents Dunstan as having room 
in his cell for working in metals with an anvil and a furnace. 3 Having 
been recalled by JEthelstan before his death, he remained at court under 

Eadmund. There again it would seem that his stricter life 
U CovLTt ma de friends of some and enemies of others. The King 

eventually was turned against him, and finally, during a hunt- 
ing party at Cheddar, ordered Dimstan to find himself a lord elsewhere. 
Dunstan, preparing to obey, asked some envoys from a distance to take 
him away with them. 3 Two days later, the King, in eager pursuit of a 
stag, was brought to the brink of a precipice ; quarry and hounds went 
over headlong, and were destroyed. The King, thinking himself lost, 
breathed a prayer for forgiveness from Dunstan, vowing amends if he 

should be saved. By a miraculous effort the horse pulled 
A Abbot ed nimse] f U P> and Eadmund lived. True to his vow, the King 

straightway took Dunstan to Glastonbury, and then and there 
installed him as Abbot (a.d. 946 ?). 4 

It is clear that at the time the abbacy must have been vacant, and most 
of its possessions in the King's hands. The buildings were in a ruinous 
condition, and the whole foundation in a wretched state. In name an 
abbey of monks, it must really have been in the hands of clerks, 
or secular canons, probably married men. Dunstan's first care was to 
repair the necessary buildings ; his next to revive discipline, and to gather 

round him a flock of young men to be trained as monks. 
T Monks S Thus his establishment would be " much more of a school than 

a convent." 5 In fact the Benedictine rule could not be 
enforced in its strictness all at once, as nobody in England was fully 
acquainted with it. But the attempt to revive it was quite a new 
departure, and so his biographer not unfairly styles Dunstan ' the first true 
English abbot ' (primus abbas angliccc nationis). 

The period of Dunstan's active work as a teacher must have fallen in 
the reign of Eadred, when he could divide his time between Glastonbury 

1 Memorials, 31 (B). 

2 Dunstan being at work in his cell, an impertinent intruder annoyed him by staring 
at him through the opening in the door, obstructing his light, and begging for some of 
his handiwork. Dunstan took no heed till the stranger began to indulge in licentious 
and disgusting talk, tempting him, when Dunstan, realizing the true character of his 
persecutor, heated his tongs in the fire, and then invoking the name of Christ, suddenly 
seized, the apparition by the nose, whereupon the Evil One went off roaring as if he had 
been a very man, and nothing more; Id., p. 84 (Osbern) and 173 (Eadmer). Both, 
however, connect the incident with the five-foot cell. 

3 " Regni orientis nuntii cum rege tunc hospilantes . . . orans . . . secum 
ad patriam . . . perducerent." Id., 23 (B). 

4 Id., 23-25 (B) ; 56 (Adelard) ; 90-92 (Osbern). Dunstan first signs as Abbot in 946, 
Cod. Dip. No. 411 ; but Florence places the appointment as early as 942. 

5 See Memorials, lxxxiii. 25, 56, 92. 

3 o 4 DUNSTAN' S CHARAC1ER [a.d. 924-955 

and the Court at Winchester. Eadred must have known Dunstan from his 
boyhood, and was uniformly partial to him, sympathising with him in his 
schemes of monastic revival, and taking him as his chief adviser next to 
his own mother, the Lady Eadgifu. He made Dunstan act as his treasurer, 
placing all his valuables, including the title-deeds of his private estates 
{ramies cartulas\ under his charge at Glastonbury ; 1 and some of Eadred's 
charters are expressly stated to have been penned by Dunstan. 2 Again it 
was Eadred who, by his mother's advice, appointed yEthelwold, one of 
Dunstan's pupils, Abbot of Abingdon, and it was in Eadred's time that 
yEthelwold sent the priest Osgar to Fleury for instruction in 
with the rules of the Benedictine discipline. The mission ot 
leury. Oswald to the same place for the like purpose may probably be 
referred to the same period. 3 The connexion thus established with Fleury 
tinged the whole future spirit of the English Church. All its Homilies, 
all its devotional literature, take their inspiration from that source. 

At the death of JSthelgar, Bishop of Crediton (952), Eadred pressed 
Dunstan to accept the See; but Dunstan refused, though the King's 
mother added her instances to those of her son. .'Elfwold, however, the man 
finally appointed to the bishopric, was nominated by Dunstan. 4 

As a character, Dunstan presents himself to us as a man of engaging 
manners and refined tastes, fond of ladies' society ; one who could con- 
descend to draw patterns for women's needlework ; 5 a man of 
°inmstan ° f tact anc * sensibility, easily moved to tears, even in his old age; '' 
a man who lived in the world, but was not of the world ; an 
artist rather than a scholar, more of a statesman than of a monk. Dunstan 
was a great dreamer, a somnambulist. Yet in all things he showed a most 
practical turn. He was possessed of a most vivid imagination ; but he 
never allowed it to run away with him. Moderation and good-sense charac- 
terised his every action. 

As a boy, while suffering from an attack of fever, and in a state ol 

delirium, he escaped by night from his nurse, and made his way out of 

doors beating the air with a stick to keep off imaginary dogs. 

bulism. Then, ascending a workman's ladder, he climbed up to 

the roof of the church. There he stood awhile. Then, 

1 Memorials, 29. 2 Codex Dipl. Nos. 425, 1,166. 

3 For .Ethel wold and Oswald see Memorials Dunst., lxxxvi. ; Life of ALthelwold, 
Hist. Abingdon, II. 255 (Rolls Series No. 2, Stevenson) ; and that by Wulfstan, 
Mabillon; Ada SS. Sac, V. 608; the Lives of Oswald, Historians Church of York, I. 
413* and Hist. Ramsey, 22, 23 (Rolls Series No. S3, Macrae). The charter, Cod. Dip. 
No. 1,208, seems to imply that the Benedictine rule had been established at Abingdon 
by February, 956. 

4 Memorials, 29, 30 (B.), cf. 56 (Ad.) and 94 (O), where the bishopric pressed upon 
Dunstan is given as that of Winchester, vacant through the death of /Elfheah in 951. 

5 See the account of his filial relations with the ladies /Ethelflacd and yEthelwyn, 
Memorials, 17, 20 (B). 

Sec Id., 50, 315, 379, etc. The fact is noticed by every writer. 

a.d. 924 955] AND EARLY LIFE 305 

descending in safety, he finally took refuge in the bed of two men, who 

were sleeping inside the church, in charge of the building. 1 Temptations, 

revelations, and dreams, figure largely in the Life of Dunstan even as given 

by his earliest and most trustworthy biographer. It is clear that some, if not 

all, of these must have been derived from Dunstan himself. He was in the 

habit of entertaining his circle with stories and reminiscences. As a boy, 

on the occasion of a night spent in prayerful solitude with his father in 

Glastonbury church, he had a vision of new monastic buildings, 

such as he himself lived to erect. 2 A revelation of many of 

the future events of his life was made to him by a deceased friend, Wulfred, 

a Glastonbury deacon, in a dream. 3 While keeping vigil in prayer one night 

in his cell, 4 the Devil presented himself successively in the shapes of a bear, 

a dog, and a fox, endeavouring to turn Dunstan from his devotions. It is 

not suggested that on this occasion Dunstan had succumbed to sleep. But 

another time, when the Enemy peeped over his shoulder before the altar of 

St. George the Martyr, again in the semblance of a bear, it is distinctly 

stated that Dunstan had fallen into ' a sort of a slumber — something 

between sleeping and waking.' 5 Starting up in terror, he struck out 

wildly with a stick that he always carried with him. The idle blow fell on 

the wall, waking the echoes of the empty church ! A verse from the Psalm 

" Exsurgat Deus" G finally dispelled the phantom. His rejection of the 

bishopric of Crediton was rebuked in a dream by a vision of St. Peter, 

St. Paul, and St. Andrew. 7 Perhaps he felt some compunction at having, 

rejected the small Cornish See. On two occasions he had escapes from 

falling stones, which he considered miraculous. 8 Twice he believed that 

he had warnings of the impending death of the reigning King. The first 

came three days oefore the murder of Eadmund, when 
Presages. ^ \ ,. . . rr . , . . , , 

Dunstan was riding in the King's company along with the 

Ealdorman of East Anglia, yEthelstan the Half-king. He saw the Enemy 
capering at the head of the party, among the trumpeters, in the shape of a 
little black mannikin. 9 Again, just before the fatal banquet, he en- 
countered in the palace yard a mysterious individual, who professed to 
be an East Saxon, with a roll of a written petition in his hand ; having 
presented it he suddenly vanished. 10 A supernatural intimation was given 

1 Memorials, 8 (B). The nurse, who followed Dunstan, reported the facts ; 55 (Ad.). 
The writer, however, begins to impart a miraculous character to the incident, which is 
carried still farther by Osbern, who represents Dunstan as carried by Angels' hands from 
the roof of the church through the closed doors into the interior, p. 75. The Lives of 
Dunstan are a perfect study in the growth of myth. 

2 Id., 7. 3 Id., 15. 4 " Infra scepta (/<£-. septa) claustrorum." 

5 " Levis soporis dormitio inrepserat . . . nee penitus vigilanti neque penitus dor- 
mienti " ; and again, " superatus a somno " ; Id., 26-28 (B). 

c ' Let God arise,' Ps. lxviii. 1. For a distorted version of the incident see Memorials y 
59 (Adelard). 7 Id., 30 (B). 

8 Id., 18, 29. 9 " Homuncii nigelli specie," Id., 45 (B). 10 lb. 

R.H. X 


him of the death of his friend and patron Eadred. The King, feeling his 
end near, had ordered Dunstan to bring him his treasures for distribution 
among his friends. As Dunstan was riding to Frome his horse dropped 
down dead under him. Dunstan, accepting the omen, at once proclaimed 
the fact : ' Eadred rests in peace.' And such the case was found to be 
when the party reached its destination. 1 

Specially distinctive of the man were Dunstan's varied accomplishments. 
Besides the performance of his church Offices he found time 
AC mSSs 1Sh " ^ or <wl *i tm g an d painting,' that is to say transcribing and 
illuminating MSS. As for literary composition, that was not 
in Dunstan's line. There is not so much as " a single letter that can with 
any possibility be attributed to him." 2 But of his penmanship 
' a drawing of the Saviour and perhaps two or three charters are 
believed to exist. 3 As a musician he played on the harp, cymbals, and 
Music or & an iprgand) ; and it may be that the Salisbury trope or 
cantus, " Kyrie rex splendens" appointed to be sung on the 
feasts of St. Dunstan and St. Michael, is of his composition. 4 He made 
organs for Malmesbury, and a chime of bells for Canterbury. 5 Probably 
his special faculty was for metal work, in which the English of 
' his time excelled. We are told that he wrought in gold, silver, 
bronze (ces\ and iron. 6 As late as the times of Edward II. the Royal 
Treasury boasted of a gold ring with a sapphire handed down as the work 
of St. Dunstan. We also hear of modelling in wax, and of carving in wood 
and bone. 7 A statesman and a courtier, Dunstan was something of a man 
of the world. He waged no indiscriminate warfare against the married 
clergy. We shall find his clerical reforms tempered by a moderation 
unfortunately not to be found in the doings of his disciples and followers. 
Altogether we may pronounce him one of the most pleasing and interesting 
of the many churchmen-statesmen produced by England. Lastly, how- 
ever, to return to the state of England at Eadred's death, we may point 

1 Memorials, 31. Here I have ventured to modify the story. As the original stands, a 
voice came from heaven saying to Dunstan, ' Behold now, Eadred rests in peace,' whereat 
the horse, 'overcome by the Angelic presence,' dropped down dead. Whether anyone 
else besides Dunstan and the horse heard the voice does not appear. The only other 
distinctly miraculous incident recorded in the Life by the priest B, is that of the vessel of 
mead at the table of the Lady ^Ethelflaed, which, after prayer to the Virgin Mary, sufficed 
for all the court of ^Ethelstan, p. 17. The same incident occurs in the life of St. 
Oswald (below). 

2 The " Regularis Concordia," a body of Rules for monks (printed Dugdale, Monasticon, 
I. xxviii., ed. Caley) attributed to Dunstan, may belong to the time of /Etheired II. 
The way in which king and queen are placed on one platform does not represent the times 
of Eadgar or of Dunstan. 

3 MS. Bodl, Auctarium F IV. 32 ; engraved in Hickes' Thesaurus, I. 144; Cod. Dip. 
No, 425, etc. See Stubbs, Memorials, cix.-cxiv. 

4 Id., 20, 21, 78, cxiv. 5 Stubbs, Memorials, ciii. 6 Id., 78, 79. 
7 So Eadmer, Id., 169. 

a.d. 955] AND POSITION 3°7 

out that Dunstan had attained to a position that might easily embarrass 
his relations with a new king. 

Eadred was never married, and left no issue. 

Eadwig ' the Fair ' 1 
Born 941-942 ? ; 2 succeeded 955 ; 3 died 1st October, 959 

As Eadred had no issue the succession at his death fell in the natural 

course of things to the eldest son of his brother Eadmund, namely Eadwig, 

a boy of fifteen at the most. But there was no grown-up man who could 

. be preferred before him, and so, young as he was, we are told 

that he was elected by ' both nations,' meaning doubtless the 

Witan of Wessex and Mercia. 4 

In dealing with this unfortunate reign the historian finds himself con- 
fronted not so much by conflicting evidence, as by one-sided evidence 
obviously tainted by party spirit. The King was involved at the very 
outset of his reign in a quarrel in which the leading clergy were arrayed 
against him. The chroniclers are practically all on the side of the clergy, 
and they spare no pains to blacken their adversary ; the King's side is 
hardly represented at all. 5 But, after making all allowance for exaggera- 
tion and calumny, it does appear that Eadwig was ill-advised and obstinate ; 
that his life and reign were wrecked by the intrigues of an ambitious 
woman, perhaps we ought to say by a struggle for supremacy between two 
ambitious women ; and that having begun by alienating the heads of the 

1 " Prae nimia pulcritudine Pancali sortitus est nomen a vulgo secundi " ; /Ethelweard, 
M. H. B., 520. 

2 The date of Eadwig's birth is not recorded, but that of his younger brother Eadgar 
is placed by Florence in 943. Their father Eadmund was only born about 922. Prema- 
ture marriage was the curse of Anglo-Saxon Royalty. 

3 Eadwig's first charter, a grant to the ladies' convent at Wilton, is dated in 955, and 
is attested by Odo, Wulfstan, and Dunstan ; Cod. Dip. No. 436. The king says of him- 
self, " nunc nuperrime rex regimina tentans." The charter may have been issued before 
his coronation, or before the coronation banquet. Bishop Stubbs cites one memorandum 
from MS. Cott. Tiberius B, V., according to which Eadwig, who died 1st October, 959, 
reigned ' four years less seven weeks,' making his reign begin 19th November, 955, just 
four days before the death of Eadred (23rd November, 955) ; while another memorandum, 
MS. Tiberius A, III. (printed by Thorpe with the A.S. Chronicles, I. 233), makes 
Eadwig reign 'three years and thirty-six weeks less two days,' from which the Bishop 
■concludes that Eadwig was hallowed on the first or second Sunday after the Epiphany, 
956. Memorials Dunstan, lxxxviii. But the dates in this memorandum for the most part 
are demonstrably wrong. The A.S. Chronicles (A, D, and E), Florence, and Symeon 
(H. R., p. 94), all make the reign begin in 955. 

4 "Juvenis . . . licet in utraque plebe regum numeros nominaque suppleret 
electUs " ; Memorials Dunstan, 32 (B). 

5 ^Ethelweard, and /Ethelweard alone, has a good word for Eadwig : ' ' tenuit quad- 
riennio per regnum amandus." /Ethelweard must have been born before this, as he 
begins to sign as Minister in 963 ; Cod. Dip. No. 1,245, etc. 


Church, he ended by forfeiting the allegiance of the larger half of his 

It would seem that young Eadwig at the time of his accession was much 
under the influence of a woman of rank, by name ^Ethelgifu, who was bent 
on marrying him to her daughter ^Elfgifu : but the pair were 
intrigue? w ^ tmn tne prohibited degrees. What the relationship was we 
do not know ; it may have been a mere connexion of sponsor- 
ship or fostering ; that would be a sufficient bar. Anyhow the Church 
forbad the marriage. Then Eadgifu, who had been so influential under 
Eadred, would naturally oppose the advent to court of a rival who would 
infallibly oust her. How bitter such a struggle between a mother-in-law 
and a grandmother might easily become the reader will judge for himself. 
Certainly the biographers of Dunstan and Odo think themselves at liberty 
to throw the grossest imputations on the characters both of yElfgifu and her 
mother, treating them as women of no reputation or position. 1 

Eadwig having been duly elected his hallowing at Kingston followed in 

due course, 2 the day ending with the usual coronation banquet. Before 

the festivities had come to an end the King left his seat in the 

^anouet* 1 ^ a ^ *° r ^ e more congenial society of the ladies in their bower. 

The assembled magnates were offended at the slight, and 

Archbishop Odo moved that the King be invited to return. Ultimately 

Dunstan and his relative Cynesige, Bishop of Lichfield, were charged with 

the delicate mission of bringing back the King. They found him sitting at 

his ease, without his crown, between the ladies. After some high words 

with ^Ethelgifu, Dunstan, with difficulty, induced the King to resume his 

crown, and led him back by the hand, like a truant schoolboy, to the 

banqueting hall. 3 

Neither Eadwig nor ^Ethelgifu ever forgave this offence. Proceedings 
were shortly instituted against Dunstan and Eadgifu. Their properties 
were seized, their friends persecuted, and both driven from court. Dun- 
stan found it necessary to fly the country. He retired to 
outlawed Flanders > to the court of Count Arnulf, 4 who established him 

in the Abbey of Blandin, or St. Peter's, Ghent. 5 
With respect to Dunstan's expulsion it is well to remember that he 

1 See the references given in next note but one. William of Malmesbury, in his Life 
of Dunstan there cited, gives these charges with some reservation. In his Life of Odo 
he gives them without any reservation ; Gesta Pont., s. 17. In his Gesta Regum again. 
he recognises the other version, styling ^Flfgifu "cognatam uxorem," s. 147. 

2 Flor. For the date see above. 

3 Memorials Dunstan, p. 32 (B) ; 100 (Osbern) ; 283 (Malmesbury). 

4 Son of Baldwin II. by /Elfthryth, daughter of Alfred. He was a great supporter 
of the monastic movement, and is said to have restored or founded eighteen monasteries, 
including St. Bertin, St. Vedast, and Blandin. For a letter from Arnulf to Dunstan in 
later days, see Memorials, 359. 

5 See Memorials, 33-36 (B) ; 59 (Adelard) ; 99-101 (Osbern) ; and the recitals in. 
Eadgifu's charter, Cod. Dip. No. 499. 

a.d. 955-957] TWO KINGS IN ENGLAND 309 

always had enemies at the court of Wessex. Twice already have we seen 
efforts made to crush him. His downfall may be taken to have been the 
work of a coalition between ^Ethelgifu and these hostile parties, who 
again may probably be identified with the King's connexions, the leading 
magnates of Wessex, who are found faithfully adhering to Eadwig to the 
end of his career. 1 These men may have chafed at the ascendancy of a 
churchman and a woman. 

Dunstan and Eadgifu having been got rid of, ^Ethelgifu became supreme, 

and the king's marriage with ^Elfgifu was accomplished. 2 Great efforts 

were made to secure the adhesion of the monastic party. We have gifts 

to the convents of Wilton, Shaftesbury, Worcester, Bath, and, 

^Church. 116 most s P e aking fact of all, gifts to .-Ethelwold— a far more 

thorough-going monk than Dunstan — and the college of monks 

following the rule of Abbot Benedict under his guidance (disciplind) at 

Abingdon. 3 At any rate these benefactions effectually repel the charges 

of confiscation of Church property brought by Osbern and Eadmer against 

Eadwig, charges not to be found in the earlier writers. 

But the government proved an utter failure. In the latter part of 957 

Mercia and Northumbria revolted, and made the .Etheling Eadgar king 

North of the Thames. 4 For this promotion Eadgar was prob- 

o/Sigiand a ^ a § ooc * ^eal indebted to the Ealdorman of East Anglia, 

yEthelwold, who had just succeeded his father yEthelstan the 

Half-king. yEthelwold's mother, yElfwen, had had the charge of Eadgar 

in his boyhood, 5 probably after his father's marriage with ./Ethelflaed-at- 


Eadgar's first act — or rather that of those who ruled in his name, he 
was only fourteen years old — was to recall Dunstan ; and, the See of Wor- 
cester having fallen vacant, he was at once appointed to it. The promotion 
of Dunstan to the episcopate was apparently resolved upon by 
a D B?shop. the Mercian Witan in a council held at " Brandanford," pre- 
sumably Brentford. Archbishop Odo consecrated him. 6 

1 See Robertson, Historical Essays, 193, and the charters there cited. .Ethelweard, 
who speaks well of Eadwig, represents this party. 

2 " Edwynus . . . cognatre illicitum invasit matrimonium ; pro cujus copula a 
sancto Dunstano redargatus" ; Hist. Ramsey, p. 19. The biographer of St. Oswald, the 
oldest authority, recognised that Eadwig was married ; Hist. Church York, I. 402. 
/Elfgifu attests a charter as 'the king's wife' ; .Ethelgifu attesting as ' the king's wife's 
mother' ; Cod. Dip. No. 1,201. 

3 13th February, 956; Cod. Dip. Nos. 441, 1,208. See also Nos. 447, 451, 452. 

4 Memorials, 35 ; Chron. B and C; Flor ; Symeon, H. R., 95. Eadgar signs as 
" regis frater" 9th May, 957 ; he signs as "rex Anglorum . . . secundo anno im- 
perii mei" in 958 ; Cod. Dip. Nos. 465, 471. No. 472, attested by him as "frater 
regis," though dated 958, "is shewn by the Indiction to belong to 956." 

5 Hist. Ramsey, 11. 

6 Memorials, 37, 60, a.d. 957. A Canterbury Obituary {Angl. Sacra, I. 54) gives the 
21st Oct. as "Ordinatio B. Dunstani archiepiscopi." If this refers to his consecration to 
Worcester the year will be 957 ; if to his translation to Canterbury" the year will be 959. 

3io EADWIG DIVORCED [a.d. 958,959 

Next year (958), when all was lost, Odo succeeded in divorcing Eadwig 
from yElfgifu as being too " sibb," i.e. nearly related, 1 and the Lady Eadgifu 
returned to court. 2 In connexion with the divorce of ./Elfgifu, Osbern, who 
wrote more than a hundred years later, gives Odo credit for brutalities 
which have been accepted by too many historians, but which to us seem 
too shocking to be accepted on the sole authority of a writer of so late 
a date. 3 One more year brought the sad drama to a close, opening up an 
entirely new situation. Odo passed away on the 2nd June, 4 

Eadwigf and Eadwi S followed him on the 1st October. He was buried 
in the New Minster at Winchester. 5 All England then rallied 
round young Eadgar. 

To Eadwig's time we may with all likelihood ascribe the evacuation of 
Edinburgh, till then the frontier fort of Bernicia, and its abandonment to 
the Scots. The event is attributed to the time of Indulf, who ruled the 
Scots from 954 to 962.° Of this period the most likely time for such 
an occurrence would be that of the disruption, when England was divided 
between Eadwig and Eadgar, while the English Earl Oswulf had probably 
enough to do to maintain his authority over the unfriendly population of 
Deira. Eadwig had no issue. 


Archbishop Odo and JElfgifu 

In his Life of Dunstan Osbern tells us that when Mercia revolted from Eadwig, the 
people chased him and his adulterous companion {adult era) into hiding, and that she 
having been discovered near Claudiam civitatem, was mobbed, hamstrung, and done to 
death {Memorials, 102). It is worth noticing that two pages earlier the adultera was 
the Lady's mother, ^Ethelgifu. In his Life of Odo {Anglia Sacra, II. 84) Osbern has 
it that Odo, having failed to induce the king to give up the company of two women 
who had acquired undue influence over him, took the worst and most notorious of the 
two, seared her face with hot irons, and sent her into perpetual banishment in Ireland. 
Having ventured to return to England, she was apprehended at Gloucester by the 
Archbishop's men, who, to prevent her walking the streets any more (!), hamstrung her 
so that shortly she died. This tale implies not merely that zElfgifu was a woman in a 
doubtful position, but that she was an abandoned creature of the lowest class. Not a 
word of this is to be found in the narratives of " B," or of Adelard, or in the Life of St. 
Oswald of York, written in the time of Archbishop yElfric (a.d. 995-1005) ; Historians 
of Church of York, I. 402). The latter merely tells that Odo forcibly parted the king 
from a woman (not his wife, but one for whom he neglected his wife) and sent her out 
of the country. Eadmer, in his Life of Dunstan (194), and Malmesbury, in his Gesta 
Pontt. (s. 17), briefly repeat Osbern's story on his authority, and his alone. The one 
uses his words ; the other refers to him by name. 

1 Chron. D ; Flor ; Hist. Ramsey, p. 19. 

2 Cod. Dipl. No. 1,224. 3 See Append, to this chapter. 

4 Anglia Sacra, I. 54 ; Reg. Sacrum. Odo signs as late as the 17th May, 959, Cod. 
Dip. No. 1,224. For his Constitutions, published under Eadmund, see Wilkins, Cone, 
I. 212. For a synodal Epistle addressed to his suffragans, see W. Malm., G. P., s. 16 ; 
Memorials, lxxxvii. 

5 Chron. A (a.d. 958) ; Chron. B, C, D, E, and Flor (a.d. 959). Eadwig signs with 
Odo 17th May, 959, Cod. Dip., sup. 

c Ann. Ulster. "In hujus tempore oppidum Eden vacuatum est ac relictum est 
Scottis usque in hodiernum diem " ; Chron Picts. "Oppidum Eden " here is equivalent 
to the Gaelic Dunedin. 



Born 943 ; 2 King of Mercia and Northumbria 957 ; succeeded to Wessex 959 ; died 

8th July, 975 
Unification of England — Administration of St. Dunstan— Monastic Revival 

AT the death of his brother, Eadgar, previously King of Mercia and 
Northumbria, was hailed King of Wessex. The Witan elected him, 
but he was not hallowed for many years, in fact not till the 

not^rowned y ear 9?3' 3 T ^e cause °f tn ^ s delay * s ( l mte uncertain. The 
well-known story is that Dunstan made Eadgar do penance 
for seven years, forbidding him to wear his crown, for the abduction of a 
Wilton nun, by name Wulfrith. 4 No doubt Eadgar had by a person of 
that name a daughter named Eadgife, otherwise St. Edith, who was born 
in 961 or 962. But it is not clear that Wulfrith had taken the veil before 
her connexion with Eadgar, while it is obvious on the face of it that the 
coronation of 973 took place not seven, but fourteen years after Eadgar's 
accession, and apparently more than ten years after his connexion with Wul- 
frith had come to an end, he having been twice married in the interval. 
This account of the matter therefore may be dismissed. Eadgar may 
have been already crowned as King of Mercia, 5 and it has been suggested 
that perhaps he deferred his coronation as King of all England till some 
wished-for event should have happened, or some special distinction been 
secured. He may have hoped for a papal grant of an Imperial title. 6 
The seventeen years of Eadgar's reign were a period of almost unbroken, 
and in fact of unprecedented, peace and prosperity. Under 
^Zenith* mm the West Saxon power reached its climax. Its "last 
glories . . . circle round his name." In writing of Ead- 
gar the chroniclers again break into song : — 

1 Florence passim. " Regem videlicit pacificum nomine Edgarum," Memorials Dun- 
stan, 56 (Adelard). Eadgar's proper style is "Rex Anglorum," but he indulges rather 
more freely than other A.S. kings in vainglorious titles, " Britanniae, Anglorum, mon- 
archus " ; " tocius Albionis gubernator " ; " basileus Anglorum," etc., etc. Cod. Dip. y 
passim. 2 Chron. C ; Flor. 

3 That the king was not 'dedicated ' till near the end of his reign appears clearly from 
Cod. Dip. No. 595, though the actual years there are wrongly given. 

4 Osbern, Memorials Dunstan, ill ; W. Malm., G. R., ss. 158, 159. 

5 He sometimes counts his reign from 957, Cod. Dip. No. 1,246. But again a.d. 
964 we have "anno V." 

c See Memorials Dunstan, xcix. ; Robertson, Historical Essays, 203. 


3 i2 DUNSTAN ARCHBISHOP [a.d. 959 

' No fleet was so daring, 
No army so strong 
That from Angle-kin 
Booty e'er took 
The while that his kingstool 
That noble prince ruled.' 1 

The internal and external peace must be ascribed to the good manage- 
ment of Dunstan, who was "the soul of the reign." Eadgar, however, is 
entitled to the credit of having held a loyal and consistent course. It is 
clear that he never forgot either the lessons of his brother's reign, or his 
own early obligations to the monastic party. His praiseworthy efforts to 
conciliate the Danes evidently cost him some popularity among his own 
subjects. 2 

The general incidents of the reign are few, the interest of the period 
turning mainly on ecclesiastical affairs, and a struggle to enforce or extend 
clerical celibacy. 

We have seen that Eadgar's first acts on becoming King of Mercia 
were to recall Dunstan and make him Bishop of Worcester. 
ECC ArSrs iCal In 959 B y rthelm > Bishop of London, having died, the See 
was conferred upon Dunstan, to be held along with that 
of Worcester 3 — a plurality condemned by the Canons of the Church, 
but not uncommon at the period. So again, when Eadgar became King 
of Wessex, his first care was to clear the way for the further promo- 
tion of Dunstan. At the death of Odo (2nd June, 959) Eadwig had 
appointed ^Elfsige, Bishop of Winchester, to succeed him. Starting 
at once for Rome to secure his Pall, ^Elfsige, while crossing the Alps, 
was caught in a snowstorm, and suffered so severely from the cold 
that he died. Another Archbishop was immediately named by Eadwig 
in the person of one Byrhthelm, Bishop of Sherborne or Wells. But 
Eadwig himself must have died immediately afterwards, and his brother 
coming into power refused to accept Byrhthelm as Archbishop, send- 
ing him back to his former diocese, and appointing Dun- 
Archbishop stan# Dunstan accepted the Primacy, and was installed 
without the loss of a single day, the Sees of Worcester 
and London, by the way, remaining in his hands. 5 In the course 

1 Chron. E, a.d. 975. 

2 See the complaints of the introduction of foreign vices and outlandish folk into the 
realm, etc., Chron. D and E, A.D. 959. 

3 Registrttm Sacrum ; Memorials Dunstan, xci. 37 ; Cod. Dip. Nos. 479, 480, cor- 
recting Florence, a.d. 958. 

4 See Memorials Dunstan, xciii., 27 (B), and Florence. The latter places the nomin- 
ation of Byrhthelm after the accession of Eadgar, but this is clearly wrong, as Byrhthelm 
signs as archbishop under Eadwig in 959, Liber de Hyda, iyj. Dunstan signs in 959 
under Eadgar in one charter as Bishop of London, and in another charter as Archbishop 
of Canterbury ; Cod. Dip. Nos. 480 and 1,221. 

A.D. 960-961] 



of 960 he went to Rome for his Pall, returning in 961, 1 when he re- 
signed Worcester and London. To the latter Bishopric one 
^Elfstan was appointed, while Worcester was conferred upon 
Oswald, 2 nephew of the late Archbishop Odo, and like him of 

Bishop of 

MS. Cott. Claud. A III. (Canterbury MS. of the nth Century.) 

Danish origin. Oswald apparently had at one time been Abbot of Win- 
chester, but, becoming dissatisfied with his life there, went, with the full 

1 Florence. Dunstan signs in both years. 

2 Registrum Sacrum. He signs as bishop in 961. The name appears as " Oswold " 
mostly in the early charters, but as " Oswald " in the later charters. 

314 BENEDICTINE REVIVAL [a.d. 961-963 

consent of his uncle, to Fleury, to be trained as a monk, as already 
mentioned. Recalled by Odo, he landed at Dover to hear of the Arch- 
bishop's death. He then joined another Danish relative, Oskytel, the 
Archbishop of York, going with him to Rome for his Pall, and on the 
way back revisiting Fleury. By Oskytel Oswald was introduced to Dun- 

jEtheiwoid stan ' wno t0 °k a £ reat f anc T t0 him, and, when the time came, 
Bishop of' recommended him to Eadgar for the See of Worcester. 1 Two 
Winchester. yearg Jater the gee of winchester fell vacant, and then ^Ethel- 
wold, Abbot of Abingdon, was appointed. 2 

The accession to the Episcopate of these two men, Oswald and /Ethel- 
wold, marks the beginning of an important movement. Both were monks, 
the one trained at Fleury, the other by instructors from Fleury. 
Revival? ■ Botl1 were zealous for tne propaganda of their Qrder, the 
Order of St. Benedict. Both contemplated a double line of 
action, namely, the foundation of new monasteries, and the transference 
of existing cathedral and collegiate churches from the hands of secular 
canons to those of regular monks. The monks, of course, were 
onsiergy uno ^ er personal vows of celibacy, while the secular clergy were 
only bound by the general laws of the Church, which were not 
free from doubt, and it is pretty clear that the secular clergy and collegiate 
canons commonly availed themselves of that doubt to marry. 3 Both 
Oswald and ^Ethelwold proved eminently successful in their work. Be- 
tween them they established English monasteries on a new footing, under 
the fostering patronage of Eadgar and Dunstan. But a marked difference 
is traceable in their modes of working : and, while ^Ethelwold was clearly 
the man after the king's heart, 4 Dunstan's special sympathy seems to have 
rested rather with Oswald. But vEthelwold was the monk par excellence, 
and as such gained the name of the ' Father of the Monks.' 5 

The reformation of his own cathedral was probably the first thing taken 
in hand by Oswald, 6 as it certainly was by ./Ethelwold. The writers of the 

1 See the Life of St. Oswald, written within thirteen years of his death ; Historians 
Church York, I. 411-419; Hist. Ramsey, 24. The Abbey of Fleury, in France, other- 
wise Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire (Dept. Loiret), was an early offshoot of the celebrated 
abbey of Monte Cassino, the chief foundation of St. Benedict of Nursia, and the head- 
quarters of his Order. Fleury claimed to date from the year 641. Chron. Aimorii, 
Bouquet, III. 139 ; Bibliotheca Floriacensis, 2 (J. Dubois, 1605). 

2 Consecrated Sunday, 29th Nov., 963 ; Chron. A. 

3 See Append, to this chapter. 

4 See the Life of ^Ethelwold by Wulfstan, Precentor {Cantor) of Winchester, composed 
during the reign of ^Fthelred II. ; Mabillon, ActaSS. OrdinisS. Bened., Sac. V. p. 616. 
This Life is much fuller than that by /Elfric, mentioned below, with much common to 
both. Probably this is the original. 

5 Chron. D and E, a.d. 984. For his regulations at Abingdon see Hist. Abing., I. 
345 ; for his asceticism, his Life, Id., II. 263. 

6 His Life, though a most valuable record, gives no dates, and does not appear even to 
give its facts in chronological order. 

a.d. 963-968] NEW FOUNDATIONS 315 

monastic party assure us that at that time the cathedrals were filled with 

worldly-minded men, fond of good living, married, and even 

°CanoS al ca P a ble of repudiating one wife in order to marry another. 1 

But it would seem that Oswald was not prepared to oust these 

men from their preferment by main force, or to compel them 

Oswald! t0 ta ^ e m o n kish vows. What he did was to build a new 

church, dedicated to the Virgin, alongside of the old Minster, 2 

which was dedicated to St. Peter. St. Mary's was served by monks, and 

to their ministrations the Bishop gave his chief attendance. The result 

was that people flocked to St. Mary's, while St. Peter's was deserted. 

The canons, to regain their influence, were driven to conformity. 3 

To meet the growing demand for monastic education, Oswald es- 
tablished a training college at Westbury-on-Severn. Ger- 
^oiieg-e 53,1 manus, a native of Winchester, who had been at Fleury, was 
appointed Prior. Two to three years the course lasted, the 
trained monks being afterwards sent on missions elsewhere. 4 But Oswald's 
name will be best remembered in connexion with his East Anglian abbey. 
Being on the look-out for a suitable site, he consulted the King, who gave 
him his choice of St. Albans, Ely, or Benfleet, all the three, as we must 
suppose, being ' in hand.' But the spot on which the Bishop eventually 
decided was Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, an island in a 
^tJbev^ secm ded district, surrounded by fens, yet not without natural 
advantages either in the quality of its soil or its opportunities 
for procuring fish and game. The land was obtained from ^Ethelwine, 
Ealdorman of East Anglia, a son of ^Ethelstan the Half-king. 5 On the 
29th August, 968, a temporary wooden chapel, a dormitory, and a refec- 
tory having been erected, twelve monks from Westbury were installed at 
Ramsey. Both Oswald and ^Ethelwine were present. 6 

Lastly, we have a monastic revival at Winchcomb, in Gloucestershire, 

1 Vita sEthekvoldi, Hist. Abingdon, II. 260; Vita Oswaldi, 411. This Life of 
iEthelwold was written within twenty years of his death by Abbot /Elfric, the well- 
known writer. 

2 if In eodem cimeterio," W. Malm. 

3 See Eadmer, Memorials Dunstan, 197, and W. Malm, G. P., s. 115, explaining 
Hist. Ramsey, 41 ; Florence, a.d. 969 ; and Vila Oswaldi, 435. The year 969 may be 
that of the final surrender of the canons, but St. Mary's was founded before 965, Cod. 
Dip. No. 517 : again we hear of it in 967, No. 536. In 969 we have a charter attested 
by the monks at Worcester, No. 553. This may have given Florence his date. 

4 Vita Oszvaldi, 422-424 ; Hist. Ramsey, 29. 

5 .^Ethelwine was appointed in succession to an elder brother, ^Ethelwold, who died 
in 962. 

6 Vita 0., 425-430 ; Hist. Ramsey, 29-40. The permanent stone church was not 
consecrated till 8th November, 974. Hist. R., 45. A very successful school was started 
at Ramsey, to which a well-known scholar, Abbo of Fleury, was invited by Oswald. 
He taught there for two years {circa 985), and wrote the Passion St. Eadmund of East 
Anglia, as he had heard the story told by Dunstan. See Memorials, 378. 

316 SECULARS AND REGULARS [a.d. 963-972 

said to have been originally founded by Offa or Ceonwulf (787-798) 

,«•• *. i- fo r nuns, but since usurped by secular canons. These were 
wincncomD. L J 

now turned out to make room for Benedictines. 1 

^Ethelwold set about his work in a much more high-handed fashion. To 

the secular canons in possession of the cathedral and collegiate churches he 

offered the simple alternative of conversion or expulsion. 2 The King backed 

him up fully, not only giving his consent, but even sending one 
Measures* of his Tne g ns > Wulfstan of Dalham, an East Anglian magnate, 

to enforce the Bishop's decrees. Thus, in the very first year of 
his episcopate, he succeeded in ousting the secular canons from the Old 
and New Minsters at Winchester, 3 from ^Ethelstan's foundation at Milton, 
and from Chertsey. So again the ' nun-minster ' at Winchester, dedicated 
to the Virgin, was refounded, cleared of ' nuns ' (nunnan) as then under- 
stood, i.e. lay sisters not bound by perpetual vows, and given up to Women 
of Religion in the strictest sense. 4 Within a short time Benedictines had 
replaced canons throughout the whole diocese. Eadgar is given the credit 
of having effected similar revolutions at Romsey and Exeter. He is also 
said to have urged Dunstan and Oswald to more vigorous action. But 
Dunstan took no direct part in this work. Throughout the whole of his 
primacy he never turned a single canon out of any one of the churches in 
his See. 5 

But JEthelwold also took an active part in the more legitimate work of 
founding, or rather re-founding, monasteries desecrated and abandoned 

through the Danish wars. The first taken in hand was Ely, 
Refounded the old fo undat i° n of St - ^Ethelthryth. 6 Royal grants of land 

prove this to have been repeopled with monks by the year 
Peter- 97 . 7 Two years later yEthelwold restored Medeshamstede, 8 

then beginning to be known as " Burh," 9 or Peterborough. A 

1 Vita Osw., 435 ; Hist. Ramsey, 42 ; Dugdale, Monasticon. 

2 " Dare locum monacis aut monachicum suscipere habitum." The letter of Pope 
John XIII. , sanctioning the expulsion of the canons, is probably a forgery, but "an early 
one." See Memorials Dunstan, 364. % 3 Conf. Cod. Dip. No. 594. 

4 " Sanctimoniales," whence the later " Moniales." See the Life of ^Ethelwold by 
Wulfstan; Mabillon, sup., 615; W. Malm., G. P., s. 78. For "Mynecena," female 
monks, as opposed to " nunnan " or "canonicas," see Laws sEiheh'ed, V. cc. 4-7. 
Some of the stones of St. Mary's Nunnery, as finally suppressed, may be seen built 
into the Meads wall of Winchester College. 

5 See Chron. A, and Flor., a.d. 963, 964 ; Hist. Abingdon, I. 348 ; and Vita yEthel- 
woldi, id., II. 260 ; Robertson, Historical Essays, 195. According to the Liber de Hyda 
however, the clerics were not expelled from the Old Minster till 967, nor from the New 
Minster till 968, pp. 179, 180. 6 a.d. 673, Chron. A. See above, p. 211. 

7 Vita ALthelwoldi, sup. 261 ; Cod. Dip. Nos. 1,269, 1,270. 

8 Originally founded circa 665 ; Chron. E. Conf. Birch, Cart. Sax., I. 33, 41. 

9 The burh from which the new name was derived may yet be seen, a conical mound 
near the river, in the Deanery garden, on the North side of the Cathedral. For the 
endowment of Peterborough by /Ethelwold see Cod. Dip. No. 1,272 (undated), with 
a further giant No. 591 (circa 975 ?) For treasures given by him see No. 1,271. 

a.d. 962-966] N